ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Being on [article id="1589490"]Hollywood movie sets[/article] over the past year hasn't spoiled Ludacris' stage presence: He's got the same charisma and gusto on the mic that he's always had.
Good thing, too — Luda needed all his star power on Sunday night as he headlined Albuquerque's third annual "New Mexico Takeover," a concert featuring local acts, old-school legends and today's top stars. However, 'Cris had to carry the bulk of the weight in the latter category on Sunday night, when two of the show's main attractions, David Banner and Game, were no-shows.
Banner's absence was unexplained, while the announcer told the 15,000-plus-strong crowd at the Journal Pavilion here that Game was not coming because he was sick. A chorus of boos filled the night air at the outdoor venue like plumes of smoke from the food court's grill — the announcement came right before 'Cris hit the stage. Thanks, guys ...
Still, Luda was oblivious, kicking off his set with "Southern Fried Intro." Chants of "Luuuuddddaaa!!!" busted out as he then went into "Number One Spot."
'Cris told the crowd that he wanted to take them back around eight years and his DJ put on "Act a Fool," which was followed by "Southern Hospitality."
"So this is 505, right?" he said later in the set, referring to city's area code. "Guess what I got in the 505? I got hoes!" Naturally, this led into "Area Codes."
"When I say 'Where's da ho's?', you're not supposed to make any noise!" Luda said to the crowd with a grin — some audience members were so hyped they responded to the wrong question.
"Where's the independent women at?" he then asked to cheers. Luda and hypeman/ DTP member Lil' Fate then started the shouts of "Oh! Oh!" that set off "Splash Waterfalls."
Throughout the show, Luda proved that not only can he bring premium excitement without the use of elaborate sets, background dancers or bands, but his reputation as one of hip-hop's best live acts is due largely to his abundance of strong material: His catalog is so thick that it seemed on Sunday that he could have performed for well north of two hours if he wanted to.
After playing "I Know What Them Girls Like" (the first commercial single from his November 11 release, [article id="1590769"]Theater of the Mind[/article]), Luda jumped into the photographer pit to touch fans' hands on "Lovers and Friends." He then said, "We was supposed to get off the stage 15 minutes ago, but we got so many songs ... I'mma give y'all another song, you ready? I just don't want anybody to get hurt."
Of course the song that followed was his most rambunctious effort to date, "Move B---h."
"Get the F--- Back," which followed, was pretty rowdy as well, and 'Cris closed the night with "Money Maker," never losing energy and keeping the crowd's attention and participation throughout the entire show.