Ke$ha and Pitbull, Ak-Chin Pavilion, June 19, 2013
Pitbull and Ke$ha put together one of the most genius tours of the summer -- a pop princess and Spanish-speaking smooth rapper got the masses out at Ak-Chin Pavilion Wednesday night. The show wasn't quite sold out, but the venue was filled with way more people than either artist could have drawn on his or her own.
What really makes this dual star-type of bill magical is that there was no mediocre opener. The show was fun from beginning to end, including an energetic interlude video DJ set by the enthusiastic Jump Smokers.
At first, it was totally puzzling why Ke$ha was the show's opener. Sure, Pitbull has a slew of radio hits, too, but he is mostly heard on chart-climbing collaborations. How could he headline all by himself?
But then, the crowd, more than half Latino, gave insight into the lineup. There are plenty of people who buy Pitbull's full albums, and they populated the Pavilion.
Ke$ha's set likely entertained even those who weren't there to see her. Her show, per usual, was still moderately flashy and still extremely trashy. While she boasted an on-stage jungle gym, six male backup dancers and a live band along with fireworks and confetti, there were still loads of features that were totally Ke$ha. You know, penis suits, strip teases, talks about tranny clubs, whipped cream guzzling, tea-bagging references. Yep, at one point, the Big K asked audience members to tea-bag each other. Good ol' Ke$ha.
Maybe it's because it was a larger venue than she's played in AZ, or maybe it was because her barely hour-long set was shorter than most, but more emphasis seemed to be placed on the showwomanship than on the singing.
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This was the most choreography Ke$ha has performed in the Valley, and while she sounded top-notch on tracks such as "Dirty Love" and "C'mon," at other times, the backing track completely took over, like during the jazzed-up "Take It Off," during which dollar bills fell from the ceiling. Still, her show was just what you'd expect from Ke$ha: a blast.
It was evident most of the crowd came for Pitbull, as everyone rose to their feet for his own 90-minute set.
He came out wearing an all-black suit and sunglasses, looking cool even in the desert heat. If Ke$ha was overpowered by the backing track, Pitbull wasn't at all -- at times, he was barely audible. After the first few songs, it definitely seemed like he could use some help from some sexy backup dancers. By song three, four sexily clad ladies had joined him to spice things up.
Pitbull was more hype man than musician during his performance, often playing DJ as tracks such as Icona Pop's "I Love It" and Martin Solveig's "Hello" came on the speakers in-between songs. While Pitbull's band was more robust than Ke$ha's, with a bigger percussion section and a saxophone, much of his set was filled with other spliced-in pop songs, during which Pitbull lifted his arms to get the crowd dancing.
If you were wondering how he managed to incorporate all those people he's worked with, ranging from Jennifer Lopez and Chris Brown to Marc Anthony and T-Pain, their visages all appeared on a video screen behind Pitbull as he rapped. I felt like I was in a massive music video bar, with Pitbull playing the perfect guy to get everyone engaged with the music.
Besides barreling through nearly 30 tracks, Pitbull also tried to inspire the crowd to be ambitious and dream big. "Short steps, long vision," he said. "Everybody here is part of the movement and has vision."
He talked about leaving the streets to clean up his act, and it was clear his messages resonated when he started shouting out all the Central American and South American cultures that might be in attendance. As he rattled off more than a dozen countries, the crowd began to chant, "Me-he-co" in unison, until Pit finally acknowledged the Mexican fans. It was a really neat moment to see an audience so united with the guy on-stage, even if his set was a little fluffy.
Pitbull's stage was glossy and colorful, with lots of bright lights that made it seem like an accurate version of the vibrance of his home town of Miami. Pitbull may have given props to sponsors ranging from car companies to photography brands throughout his set, but he still managed to turn his promotional tour into one heck of a party.
More photos, observations, and video after the jump.
Personal Bias: I was way more excited to see Ke$ha than Pitbull. The Crowd: Mostly 20- and 30-something Latinos. Overheard in the Crowd: Lots of Spanish. Random Notebook Dump: This was probably the best-smelling crowd I've been around at a concert. Setlist:
We R Who We R
Gold Trans Am
Take It Off
Blah Blah Blah
Your Love Is My Drug
Encore: Die Young
Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor)
I Like How It Feels
Move Shake Drop
Shut It Down
Live It Up
Get It Started
Rain Over Me
Manos Pa' Arriba
Back in Time
Don't Stop the Party
I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)
On the Floor
I Like It
DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love
Hotel Room Service
Feel This Moment
Give Me Everything
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