Photos (c) Daisy Romero
Black Eyed Peas, with the Pussycat DollsApril 29 at Agganis Arena
No more shabby Carson Daly green rooms and opening slots for ex-boy-banders. Black Eyed Peas are finally headliners, dammit: bring these people the biggest sign onstage, the freshest Pellegrino backstage, and the right to pee their pants wherever and whenever they want. Last night at BU’s Agganis Arena, Fergie didn’t get the urge. But she committed an even bigger diva foul: attempting to scat. Yes, kids, there are limits to what your ego can force your limited talent to accomplish, and this was a shining example. It was also the least memorable moment in a three-hour extravaganza of the type that only the biggest hip-pop tour of the moment can provide: pop and lock showcases, humping a monkey puppet, and everyone's guiltiest strip-hop pleasure, the Pussycat Dolls.
As soon as the Dolls gyrated onto the stage -- there were just six of them, but it seemed like an army of skimp -- the crowd blew up. Their singing? Overrated, even at budget prices. However: their abs? Ohmigod. If you can get your hair that big and your ass to shake that fast, honey, you deserve every penny. Put the PCDs together and they make up the hottest girl I know, with lead singer Nicole providing a little vocal talent behind the T&A. "I love every one of their songs!" says my friend Swati, not taking her eyes off the stage. "But they only have two?" I say. "Uh huh," she nods.
Fergie, having once been a PCD herself, knows just how far she's come from doing the cabaret-in-a-bikini-top schtick her opening gals are stuck with. You know you've made it when you can take the stage fully clothed -- in a hot peach polyester jumpsuit with your name down one leg, no less! Sure, she still breaks a sweat, does the splits, and lets loose a vestigal ass-shake between "Let's Get Retarded"s. But she also echoes a deep, sultry confidence she's earned by turning a marginal alternative rap group into humongous top 40 stars. I mean, she's earned some respect, right? "Does she really pee her pants on purpose?" a concerned mom next to me asks. "I don't want my daughter to see that." You never know, ma. "They won't show it on the screen, will they?"
Atop the Agannis stage, and below a gigantic blinking orange BLACK EYED PEAS sign, the other peas in the pod fight for their cut of your attention. Will I Am, with his dashing Girl From Ipanema vibe (actually, he is about to drop an album with Sergio Mendes) takes the lead, narrating the beats. The man appears to have detachable limbs. Amazing. Taboo and Apl.De.Ap break up the flow with breakdancing moves that are so cool you almost forgive them for having names that look like morse code. Then they Voltronize in funky arm-in-arm numbers that couldn't be more entertaining if they were actually improvised instead of overly choreographed. But elephunk's changed a lot, kiddos.
Speaking of which, the biggest change in BEP shows was sitting right next to me -- in fact they were in about half the seats at Agganis. There's nothing more ironic than watching a hockey-rinkfull of 13-year-olds shake pancake-flat asses and two-inch hips while singing along with "My Humps." I guess the bigger and flashier your national tours get, the younger your audience. (Not like yer college girl here will ever mind shaking humps when BEPs are in town.) But what's next? How about a Cirque du Soleil-produced world tour where Fergie defecates into the microphone for nine year olds, featuring a sign that takes up the entire first five rows? Bigger and better and onwards and upwards.
-- Julia Dennis