Review: Timbaland at Palladium Ballroom

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Scion hosted Timbaland in a free concert last night at the Palladium Ballroom, and the people came out in force. The floor was increasingly crowded throughout the night (although the place is so big, the back area was still an easy walk through). A surprising spectrum of people showed up ranging from questioning hipsters to skanky chicks to middle-aged cool folks and everything in between. A lady with a bad perm, tight jeans and a western shirt must have made a wrong turn at the lobby, because she was definitely the Gilley’s crowd yet twirled in a drunken glee on the peripheral of the dance floor amusing only herself. I had no idea of Timbaland’s broad appeal. And yes, the pun is intended.

The night hit the ground running as his official DJ, Freestyle Steve, had the party rolling until ordering all the lights turned off. A Carmina Burana facsimile blared to dramatic effect riling up the crowd. The lights went up and surprise! -- Timbaland had entered the building. Quite an epic entrance resulting only in the superstar walking on stage in a white T-shirt and pants. That would foreshadow how the show would play out.

What followed for the next hour plus was somehow both brilliant and self-inflated. He performed two songs working the crowd alluding to the idea that this free concert wasn’t going to be a three-song appearance. The momentum was flowing and then a weird mix of rap and turntable slowed it down to an awkward performance followed by his idea of having a dance-off on stage. More than likely not an impromptu move but as he selected hot chicks, of course, from the audience, the show had come to a screeching halt. The fact that it was saved by two of the selected ladies should note that Timbaland isn’t at his best live and alone.

However, he is a funny man. He can banter with the best of them, throwing jokes without trying to be a comedian and coming off like a guy to watch a Cowboys game with. The funniest moment of the night happened when the emo girl with sunglasses did what can only be described as a seizured crab-walk set to music. Needless to say her team lost that round, but the audience had a prolonged good laugh. The already too-long dance-off finished with the introduction of another selected lady known only as TeeTee, 21 and from Euless, her ass shook with such rapidity that she could probably mix cake batter perfectly. Timbaland was stricken, and the audience loved her and rooted her on.

Finally getting back on track with the music, and after dropping Justin Timberlake’s name over and over, "SexyBack" hit the speakers and Timbaland decided to treat us to his singing. While never horrible, it was a major insight to his ego. He is very aware of his stardom and how many hits he’s been involved with. "SexyBack" was followed by the Nelly Furtado hit "Promiscuous Girl," which also offered his vocal work. The progressively stunning masturbatory crescendo came when he boasts, “Y’all didn’t know I did a lot of records,” followed by an impressive catalog of pop and hip-hop greatest hits of the last few years including songs by Alliyah, Missy Elliott and Kanye West. Before going into West's latest single "Stronger," Timbaland told the crowd, "I bet y'all didn't know I had something to do with this record right here." The crowd frenzied with every new song while Timbaland simply propped himself against the DJ table. He must figure the hits are entertainment enough and stood to simply watch the audience revel in his work. And boy did they.

Without much fanfare, he offered parting words and walked off the stage with his DJ winding down the set. Freestyle Steve however may have been the real star of the night, opening the show with a playlist of danceable beats that he somehow delivers like Christmas presents. Song after song, dancing folks would almost raise their hands in joy and praise as if the Creator had just bestowed another great mix to the floor. He doesn’t blend into the next song but still seamlessly transitions from one to another in between shout-outs to the crowd. He’s a DJ that could be entertaining both dancing to him or just watching him, and with all his charisma he still complements Timbaland and lets his ego subside to the greater one.

And despite Timbaland’s braggadocio, I still wanted to chill with him during today’s Cowboys game. -- Rich Lopez

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