A Bumpy, Baffling Beat-Down at BBVA Compass Stadium
From the moment I pulled into the parking lot across from BBVA Compass Stadium for the H-Town Beat Down Friday, it was pretty obvious that something was off. It was 7:05 p.m., the earliest and most on-time I'd been for a show in a very long time, and the show slated to start at 7 p.m. had in fact started. At least from the sound of Paul Wall bumpin' through the parking lot, anyway.
Photos by Marco Torres
This theory was confirmed at check-in, where we were handed a printout of the night's schedule. While the show had been advertised to start at 7 p.m., it actually started earlier than that. And I missed Paul Wall.
So did 99 percent of the rest of the concertgoers. I didn't make it to my seat before the "Sittin' Sideways" rapper left the stage, but neither did anyone else. Apparently I wasn't the only one who missed the memo; the place was empty.
While it may be The Beat's first year in Houston, this station knows a thing or two about rap. And that knowledge presumably includes Houston rap, which was part of what Friday's concert was centered around.
So why was Paul Wall on for a whopping ten minutes before the show was scheduled to start? He was given enough time for two songs, and then he was off. I didn't get it. And I didn't see it, either. I just heard it from my place in the parking lot at 7-freaking-05 p.m., a while five minutes after the show was slated to start.
Same thing happened with Trae the Truth. With a break in between "sets" for the radio station DJs to...well, who knows what they were doing up there, the Houston legend was put onstage about ten minutes after Wall had finished, and again was given time enough for two songs.
With Trae and Paul Wall up there rapping to an empty stadium, especially one the size of BBVA, it just made for such a weird atmosphere. It almost appeared like a mic check, rather than an actual concert. The place was a ghost town.
Next up? Some kid from Canada who was given five minutes, in which he managed to brutally maim and then kill Bel Biv Devoe's "Poison" and also proposition the ladies afterwards. It was an impressive feat. I believe the dude was Kirko Bangz's cousin, Tory Lanez, but I'm not going to bother to learn his name. I'll never hear it again. His five-minute set was enough for a lifetime.
Three artists in, the concert was already feeling way more like a showcase than a concert. In between artist "sets," the radio station DJs came onstage and chatted with the crowd or played a couple of songs. That choppy schedule was incorporated for the entire show, and nothing really vibed quite right about any of it.
The Beat's Devi Dev and DJ Mr. Rogers
Meek Mill, who was given an extra five minutes -- making his "set" a full 15 minutes -- was the first person who managed to hype up the crowd. To be fair, he did in fact kill that short set. It was a nice change of pace to see people out of their seats and paying attention, quite a contrast to the openers. But perhaps that's because for the openers, there was no crowd.
It seemed that most of the concertgoers assumed that while the show said it started at 7 p.m., there would be plenty of time to account for Houston traffic before any decent artists -- local or otherwise -- took the stage. Rarely if ever have I seen a show start before the advertised time until this one.
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