Lil Wayne: 'The show ain't over'

GR performance highlights rapper's long career

By Adam Knorr | 2/21/16 11:09pm

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GVL / Luke Holmes - Lil Wayne takes the stage at Van Andel Arena Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016.


A fan freestyled in the bathroom, fog machines weren’t necessary and the performers saw no need for shirts.

Lil Wayne took over the Van Andel Arena as part of his Dedication Tour on Feb. 18.

Along with special guest Rae Sremmurd, Lil Wayne put on a grinning, exciting and unselfish concert in front of a mostly full crowd in Grand Rapids.

Rae Sremmurd stoked the crowd with an hour set before Lil Wayne took the stage, coming out promptly at 7:30 p.m. Brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy – the duo that make up Rae Sremmurd – danced, dabbed and stroked the crowd’s ego.

The crowd was ambivalent through the middle parts of Rae Sremmurd’s set, but “This Could Be Us” and the closer of mega-hit “No Type” brought the energy up for the main act.

Despite being nearly a decade past his rapping prime, Lil Wayne showed no signs of fatigue or apathy. Donning a heavy gray sweater that could’ve doubled as a Persian rug, blacked-out sunglasses and a Weezy F. Smile, Lil Wayne played a set that lasted nearly two hours.

Orange, blue and purple lights danced over the crowd as heavy bass dropped and listener-pleasing beats created the atmosphere. Lil Wayne, 33, laid down verses from some of his best-known songs, and dove back to his early discography now and again, often asking the crowd where his earliest fans were located.

In between songs, Lil Wayne prompted the audience to recognize behind-the-scenes workers, his on-stage band and, above all, the crowd itself. At one point, he asked the crowd to put a finger to the sky as a symbol of prayer for the people in Flint, Michigan, mentioning that his New Orleans upbringing made him all-too-familiar with dirty water.

In a blatant show of his self-proclaimed status as “Rich As F---,“ Lil Wayne rifled through a number of marijuana-packed blunts on stage, and, judging by the smell and smoke that covered the arena, his fans weren’t shy about shouldering 420 laws, either.

The crowd, high on house-shaking music, popular verses and snuck-in substances, rocked all evening. Brief flashes of light highlighted those on the floor by the stage, packed tightly in a united, constant rap performance of their own, screaming lyrics, gyrating hands and swaying to the music.

In all, Lil Wayne’s set consisted of parts of nearly 40 songs, many of which top his Spotify charts. The beginning of his set dissolved long lines at the concession stand, and the end of his set sent long lines of high-heeled women and faded men streaming out of the arena.

The suffocating smoke in the air, and the audio-fueled fire on stage left one minor miracle for the night: Grand Rapids never burned to the ground.

Highlights:

— “This Could Be Us” and “No Type” by Rae Sremmurd

— “Best Rapper Alive,” “Lollipop,” “Mrs. Officer,” “Drop the World,” “Love Me,” “Every Girl,” “Hustler Muzik,” “Mirror” and “The Sky is the Limit” by Lil Wayne

— A false ending, complete with a closing speech, cut short by Lil Wayne proclaiming, “The show ain’t over, n----!” Immediately after, he dropped into the bumping, blasting first verse of “A Milli.”

— The real end, in which Lil Wayne proclaimed three things: “I know we all ain’t s--- without the man up above,” “I ain’t s--- without (the fans)” and, finally, “I ain’t go no worries," which dropped into the hit “No Worries.”

Lowlights:

— An underwhelming crowd for the majority of Rae Sremmurd’s set.

— A brief period during the second half of Lil Wayne’s set, during his lesser-known mixtape songs, in which the crowd wasn’t engaged.

— At the end of the show, Lil Wayne’s deejay proclaimed that the after party would be at the “DeVo’s Place,” butchering the pronunciation of “DeVos Place."

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