Hip-hop star Ludacris hosted his "Luda Bowl" concert at Celebrity Theatre tonight, and his performance exemplified the showmanship of the genre. Not only did Ludacris have the audience of a thousand-plus fans all waving their arms in the air, but he proved to his DJ that "there are some true Luda fans in the house" by holding the mic out to the crowd and letting them sing entire verses of various songs, spanning his ten-year career.
You lookin' at me? Watch a slideshow from the concert.
The show began with an all-too-short set by Phoenix's own Willy Northpole, whom Ludacris signed to his Disturbing Tha Peace label last year. Northpole's energy was almost palpable as he bounced and strutted from one end of the rotating stage to the other, working the crowd to put their hands in the air. He's so energetic that the crowd's surprised when he says, "I'm gonna sit down and take a breather...I'm just fucking with you."
Northpole then launched into "Body Marked Up," an amazing track with an infectious finger-snap beat -- the very track, in fact, that Northpole played for Ludacris the night he got signed to DTP. Before leaving the stage, Northpole brought out producer Bangladesh for a couple tracks, and asked, "Arizona, are we on the map?"
Then he was gone (he was only up there for about 15 minutes), and the crowd was left to wait for Ludacris.
Ludacris hit the stage more than twenty minutes behind schedule, and the crowd had been chanting "Lu-da! Lu-da!" for the past ten. As soon as the lights went down, a roar erupted from the crowd and people started lighting joints, When Ludacris walked the ramp and onto the stage, the audience went absolutely nuts. He was joined onstage by Lil' Fate shortly thereafter, and the two worked the crowd through Ludacris hits like "Act a Fool," "Area Codes," "Lovers & Friends," "Pimpin' All Over the World," "Freaky Girl," "Pussy Poppin'," "Hood Stuck," and of course, "Stand Up" and "Get Out the Way." He even performed hits he made guest appearances on, like "Damn!," "Yeah!," "Glamorous," and "I Get Money."
Northpole joined Ludacris onstage for "I Get Money," and Ludacris looked proud of his protege. "Everybody buy Willy Northpole's album when it comes out," he told the audience.
Willy Northpole came back out during Ludacris' set. Watch a slideshow from the concert.
Steph Jones, a new R&B artist signed to Ludacris' label, came onstage to perform his first single, "Mr. Ordinary," and rapper Small World joined the jam for "Put It in Reverse."
By the end of Ludacris' hour-and-a-half set, Northpole, Jones, Lil' Fate, and Ludacris were all up there, working the crowd and encouraging people to join them at Club Rain in Scottsdale for the official afterparty. Judging by the number of cars that sped out of the lot after the show, many fans took them up on the offer.