UNIONDALE, New York — It might not seem that way, but this is probably the most pivotal point in [artist id="510062"]Lil Wayne[/artist]'s career.
No, he's not in trouble professionally. He continues to blow up like the planet Krypton: his records are selling, magazines still want him on their cover, artists still want them to guest on their songs. For the immediate future, he's doing about 10 times better than great. But now he has more responsibilities: Can he hold the weight of headlining an entire arena-concert tour?
Obviously, with Tha Carter III being not only lauded as a classic but also the top-selling album of last year, Weezy has had no problem filling venues for his I Am Music Tour. Especially with a lineup consisting of the almost equally hot [artist id="1998098"]T-Pain[/artist], [artist id="1244412"]Keyshia Cole[/artist], [artist id="1904930"]Gym Class Heroes[/artist], [artist id="2561902"]Gorilla Zoe[/artist] and [artist id="1746119"]Keri Hilson[/artist], the show has a little something for everybody. But let's face it, as big as Wayne is right now, he could have Conrad Bain from "Diff'rent Strokes" opening for him and he would sell tickets.
Friday night at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, Wayne and company showed that getting people in is easy — the venue was packed. But the question is, can Weezy have a show so dope they want to keep coming back every time he comes around with future projects?
The answer is, don't doubt the Kobe Bryant of rap. Immediately, the audience saw production values bigger than anything he's done as a solo artist. His band members were lowered on separate structures from the ceiling to the stage, as were his DJ and the DJ's turntable set. A cube of big screens surrounded the DJ. While everybody came down, Weezy jumped up from under the stage.
"Mr. Carter" hit a few moments later, and the whole Coliseum started singing, "Hey, Mr. Carter, tell me where you been?"
"It's about to get real stupid in here!" Wayne smiled as the crowd rapped along with every lyric. Jay-Z didn't come out for his part of the song (he was probably on his way to D.C. for inauguration weekend), but Wayne's partner in crime T-Pain came out — via a Segway scooter! Pain had entertained earlier in the night with a circus-like stage show that included a stripping midget who mimicked Britney Spears. Pain and Wayne told the audience they wanted to battle.
"Pain, skate your a-- back out here," Wayne said to his friend after they performed "Got Money." Pain had sung his part on the song while driving.
"Am I trippin', or aren't I the feature king?" Weezy asked the crowd, who approved with screams. "Thank you very much. I'm here all night!"
T-Pain countered with, "In 2008, was I not on the most features?" The concertgoers once again gave loud approval.
They decided to have a "feature-off," where both played portions of songs on which they'd made cameos, from "Out Here Grindin' " to "Swagga Like Us."
"I got so much swagga, I am not doing the muthaf----n' verse!" Wayne insisted.
Like the great Anaheim Angels-turned-New York Mets save king Francisco Rodriguez, Weezy closed out strong with "Lollipop" and his last number, "A Milli."
After spending most of the night suspended in the air, the guitarists put their feet on the stage for the first time all night, rocking out as Weezy laced the crowd with his record's popular quotables.
The New Orleans king exited the same way he came in: through the stage floor. He had Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" playing — as he always does — when he left. See you on the next run, Wardie!