Black Eyed Peas bring energy to Valley

In a match made in party heaven, the Black Eyed Peas and tour sponsor Bacardi, teamed up to blow the lid off of Jobing.com Arena as The E.N.D. world tour made its stop in Glendale last week.

The elaborate theatrics of the Black Eyed Peas and the spirits — including the “V.I.Pea,” a new drink concocted especially for the tour that is two parts Bacardi, one part lime juice and one part black sugar topped with black eyed peas — made for a memorable evening. The State Press was there to catch all of the action:

7:44 PM: We finally arrive at Jobing.com Arena and Westgate is a madhouse. Entrance lines are already forming, several radio stations are broadcasting live and all of the restaurants and bars are full. Just talked to an employee at the will call window who said the show is sold out.

7:59 PM: Standing in line, we speak with 23-year-old Ashley Jenkins of Phoenix who was interested in the show because of the reputation of the band’s live performances. “I’ve heard amazing things about their live show and they have so many awesome songs, so I had to come,” Jenkins said. “They’re one of my favorite bands.”

8:17 PM: Ludacris is the opening act and starts the night with his hit “Stand Up.” The crowd is going wild — it’s like a fraternity party times a million. People in the upper deck are dancing, people on the floor are dancing and it’s completely nuts.

8:21 PM: As Ludacris rolls through a montage of all his biggest hits, I become both surprised and impressed by how good of a performer he is. He interacts with the crowd more than you’d expect and really puts on a good show. During one break between songs, he admits that he does, indeed, have “ho’s in the 480 and 602.” Not surprising in the least.

8:34 PM: He’s still going and still riling up the crowd. Everyone was dancing during “What’s Your Fantasy” — the 14-year-olds in front of us and the mother of two behind us. Everyone was dancing, no exceptions.

8:41 PM: Ludacris finishes up and is off the stage entirely by this time and the energy is pretty electric at this point. There’s a lot of anticipation for the Black Eyed Peas.

9:11 PM: The introduction of the Black Eyed Peas is so over-the-top theatrical that it is phenomenal. It’s quickly evident why they are one of the biggest acts in the world right now. The swagger that is shown on the album translates to the stage — they all have an attitude and an aura of “we know how awesome we are.”

9:21 PM: I should mention that their swagger doesn’t act as a barrier between them and the crowd, though. Taboo starts a giant fist-pumping session during “I Want to Rock Right Now” and the band is constantly thanking the crowd as they roll through their songs.

9:31 PM: They are playing all of their hits — “Meet Me Halfway,” “Don’t Phunk With My Heart,” “My Humps.” You name it, they played it, and the crowd loved it.

9:42 PM: Will.i.am is free-styling text messages on a big screen sent in by the crowd. It was a really impressive moment and a pretty great way to interact with the crowd.

9:51 PM: The band disappears into the elaborate stage and apl.de.ap. pops out in a futuristic Devo-esque costume to perform a solo. Pretty cool moves and rapping, but I got a feeling that the others will be doing something big.

9:56 PM: Taboo is riding a flying, light-up motorcycle and rapping over the crowd. Well, he wins the solo competition regardless of what comes next.

9:59 PM: Fergie comes out for her solo and ends up doing some of her solo stuff. She starts with “Fergaliciious,” which was a crowd pleaser, and then goes into “Glamorous,” with a guest spot from Ludacris which was exciting. She ends with “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” but doesn’t have any flying motorcycles, so she finishes with a B-.

10:11 PM: Will.i.am. comes out in a full chrome Iron Man suit and begins spinning tracks like a DJ. The platform he’s standing on is now hovering over the crowd as he spins big time hits — “Jump Around,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” but ends with possibly the biggest song of all-time: “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The crowd is singing this song louder than anything other all night, Black Eyed Peas song or otherwise.

10:28 PM: With the solos all over, the band jumps right back into their set list. The crowd isn’t slowing down and neither is the band. Really impressed at the moment.

10:35 PM: Will.i.am just gave a very heartfelt speech before “Where Is the Love?” He talked about the struggles of their band in the beginning and how important it is to dream big and follow those dreams. He seemed very contrite and honest.

10:54 PM: That’s a wrap on the evening — the music is playing but the band seems to be done. I don’t blame them for being exhausted.

10:55 PM: They’re back and playing “Boom Boom Pow.” Not sure how I honestly didn’t see that coming. “I’ve Got a Feeling” ends the night and it’s the band’s best performance of the evening. They are high-fiving fans and there is enough confetti flying through the air to mistake this for the end of the Super Bowl. The band is still lingering, giving high-fives, blowing kisses and generally being appreciative.

11:05 PM: They are all done and people are filing out.

Finding excited concertgoers posed no problem at all. Nineteen-year-old Austin Smith of Tempe said, “That show was so insane, I’ve never seen anything like that.” A security guard working the crowd added, “That band was really good and the audience was great. It was so loud in here.”

At one point during the evening, Will.i.am asked the crowd if they were enjoying “the Black Eyed Peas experience,” and it was a perfect explanation for the evening.

With over the top theatrics, seamless choreography and plenty of surprises, the Black Eyed Peas and Bacardi put on one hell of a party at Jobing.com Arena.

Reach the reporter at jdfourni@asu.edu


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