Southern Methodist University
April 15, 2010
Better than: Big Boi's set getting canceled as well.
Many unsuspecting local music fans had the same reaction upon hearing that there would be a free concert on the SMU campus featuring Outkast's Big Boi and mash-up artist Girl Talk. The consensus response, for the most part, was that it seemed almost too good to be true.
Turns out those with that response were right in the end.
The Doak Walker Plaza where last night's free concert at SMU was held is situated in the area just east of Ford Stadium--and virtually across the street from the last stand of residential on the school's ever-widening turf. The 3000 block of Potomac Avenue is the only thing that lies between SMU and the shopping center on Mockingbird that is home to the SMU Bookstore and La Madeleine.
Meaning? It essentially exists as an island, with property owned by the university surrounding it on all sides.
So when the plaza began to swell for Big Boi's 8 o'clock performance last night, it seems that Potomac residents began to wonder what was up.
Hundreds of excited hip-hop fans (many of which were co-eds within stone's throw of their own residences) smiled, cheered, danced as Big Boi had fun throughout his near hour-long set. Really, the tone of the show was one of overall frivolity with the mood of disbelief extending right up into the well-executed set. Exhaled exclamations of "This is so badass!" were far from uncommon.
And while Big Boi performed some of his new solo stuff, the emphasis of his show was obviously on classic Outkast tracks. He played fantastic rendition of such staples as "Elevators" and "The Way You Move" (during which he was accompanied by a group of dancing SMU girls).
His set ended at about 10 minutes to 9 p.m. At that time, the crowd had about five minutes to exchange their on-the-spot reviews of the Big Boi set and express their excitement when a student from the organization putting on the event took the stage and nervously approached the microphone.
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"I'm sorry," the student announced to the still-swelling crowd. "But we've been shut down."
was the prevailing attitude. It seemed that nobody believed that Girl Talk would not be playing. Really: Very few people evacuated the plaza and, within a few minutes, the expected fist pumps and chants of "BULLSHIT" were in full effect. Some thought it was a prank, but as the minutes without music wore on, many more were beginning to feel cheated, robbed and disappointed.
Never mind that it was a free show--these people came with expectations.
Those, too, ended when a combination of the University Park, Highland Park, and SMU police officials arrived to ensure that the concert would end as a result in the over 30 noise complaints that they had supposedly received from the surrounding neighborhoods.
While it took over 30 minutes for the crowd to finally give up ad disperse, things never really got to the point where the crowd and the authority figures were at odds. As a matter of fact, the biggest exodus from the plaza came about 15 minutes after the stoppage when a couple rabble-rousers hurled projectiles onto the stage as security was helping to clear things out. Many realized the potential for things to get ugly at that point and decided it time to high tail it out of there.
"I've never in my life been in a place more primed for a riot," I overheard one student say as he made his way off of the south end of campus.
Still, rumors began to circulate that Girl Talk would indeed play last night. Most of the chatter implied a midnight set at Deux in Mockingbird Station. In turn, many hopeful concert-goers made the trek there, hoping to get a glimpse of the mash-up hero in action.
By midnight the club was overrun by Girl Talkers, who outnumbered the venue's regular constituents. Apparently, the rumor was substantiated by opportunistic club owners eager to get more bodies in the room. The club's staff claimed that Girl Talk was indeed playing and they were waiting on him to show up. However the artist himself put the rumors to bed as he posted a late night tweet that said "I don't know what deux is, I never told anyone I was playing there, fuck anyone who said I was."
Very definitive end to the rumors.
that's how the night came to a close--disappointment abounding.
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But hey, we'll always have Big Boi.
Personal Bias: I am an alum of SMU and my pride runs deep. But I have to say that the planning was a bit off, putting the concert in basically the only place they could have on campus that is within earshot of residences.
Random Note: Regardless, this bill trumped any of the former acts that the university has brought in recent memory. Especially when it comes to hip-hop, which has been previously represented by on-campus performances while I was a student by Coolio and Tone Loc. Bravo, Mustangs. If only for trying.
By the Way: In no way do we want you to forget that Big Boi played an exceptional set, punctuated by clean delivery, upbeat stage presence, and a genuine playfulness that we see far to seldom in the world of music superstars.