When I heard that Pharrell was in town, I was so delighted to get a ticket. Pharrell is a very talented man, his songwriting and production talents are well-known, he had a huge hit with “Happy”, he has won Grammys, this man is a musician right? A good musician at that.
So Pharrell, what the hell did I go to ?
I only saw one support act, which I believe was the DJ Baauer playing Trap music. I am not a huge fan of the genre, but sure it appeals to others, so I am not really in a position to say whether it was good or bad, and after about 15 minutes I had my fill of heavily vibrating wub wub wub and ‘MoFo, P**sy, N**ga’ lyrics. I just know that for me it was a bit of an assault on the ears, and it didn’t make me feel like I really wanted to dance, so like the majority of the audience, I departed the auditorium in search of a drink to while away the time until the main act came on.
Pharrell appeared around 9:10pm and I didn’t feel the buzz and enthusiasm amongst the audience that I have felt with other performances.
He kicked off with his Swedish House Mafia collaboration “One (Your Name)” and it kind of got the crowd going a bit. His vocals sounded good, he busted out some cool dance moves, and he was accompanied by two female backing dancers and a DJ. It seemed only a minute before he switched to a personal favourite of mine, “Drop it Like It’s Hot”, a track he did with Snoop. He seemed keen to get the audience singing, so he kept letting them do the work, and it seemed a bit soon for him to be doing this. Pharrell, I came to hear you sing, not the audience. This lasted a bit longer than the first track, but again it was all over too quick and he segued into “Hollaback Girl”. Audience involvement seemed to be a priority for him and he did the cliched – left side, right side, middle, back ‘wave your hands in the air’ participation thing for a while. Next up was “I Just Wanna Love U” the Jay Z track, followed by “Hot In Here”. This prompted him to remove his shirt which made all the girls scream, then he invited about ten very lucky ladies on stage to dance with him. One of the girls was an incredibly good dancer and she absolutely stole the stage – a girl in a black t-shirt to the left of the stage – she was amazing, and after a while when Pharrell spotted how good she was, he spent quite a bit of time dancing with her. He also kissed some of the girls which made them crazy and I then began to wonder if this concert was more of an ego trip for him rather than entertainment for me.
Other tracks which Pharrell sang snippets of were “Lapdance”, “She wants to Move”, “Beautiful”, “Frontin”, “Hunter”, and “Aerosol Can” never seeming to spend too long on any one track – it was almost as if he got bored with them and hurriedly moved on to the next.
He finished up by going into the crowd which looked like a bit of a free for all. His last two songs were “Blurred Lines” and “Happy”. He then sang “Happy” again straight away before leaving the stage after just 40 minutes. The crowd wanted an encore, but he didn’t come back. and looking around the crowd, I think most people felt a bit cheated.
Pharrell is a great musician and producer, he has written songs for so many people, he can sing and he can dance. He clearly revels in the adoration of his fans, and I understand what a buzz this must give him. It’s a shame that the buzz wasn’t reciprocated. All he had to do was sing a song the whole way through and spend a bit longer on stage. This was not an expensive act for him – he had two dancers, a DJ and some videos. There were no pyrotechnics or aerobatics. Most people paid at least $80 for their ticket – that’s an incredible hourly rate for the lacklustre show that Pharrell put on.