Earlier this month, Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am told MTV News the collective’s The E.N.D. world tour would deliver “things flying and the stage transforming.” Well, the Grammy-winning group’s show came through New York’s Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night (February 24), and the futuristic performance lived up to the hype.
From the onset, when the four-person crew entered via platforms underneath the stage, to midway through the set when Will.I.Am freestyled rhymes based on text messages, the Peas put on a concert that was every bit as energetic as their pulsing tracks.
As the booming bass of “Let’s Get It Started” drummed up, Apl.de.Ap was the first BEP member to pop up onstage. He was soon followed by Taboo and Fergie. A billowing cloud of smoke enshrouded the stage as Will.I.Am joined his mates, complete with a “Phantom of the Opera”-like mask.
“Let’s get it started,” Fergie sang, as lights radiated from the stage into the crowd. “Let’s get it started in here.”
The onetime Eazy-E protégés (before Fergie joined the group) returned to their original lyrical pedigree halfway through their performance. Will urged fans to send text messages, and the words later appeared on gigantic screens in the arena. The producer then freestyled and incorporated the messages into his boasts.
Fergie took a brief moment during the Peas’ set to detour into a mini solo set of her own. She strutted down the runway that extended into the audience in blinged-out boots and an impossibly short metallic minidress. But Fergie was a part of the BEP family on this night and quickly returned to the set; the guys rejoined her onstage as they performed an encore to “I Gotta Feeling.”
Just before the group performed, David Guetta stirred things up as a surprise guest. The DJ announced to the crowd that he arrived from Paris to make it to the concert. He cued up his Kelly Rowland-assisted song “When Love Takes Over” and walked off, still on his turntables, as a crew collected his equipment and pulled Guetta offstage while the music was still playing.
Ludacris and LMFAO helped kick things off prior to that. The rowdy “I’m in Miami, Trick” party rockers did a brief set, including their hit “Shots.”
Ludacris pulled out a number of hits throughout his set, from “Move” to “Stand Up.” The Atlanta MC was sporting black jeans, sneakers, a leather jacket and a thermal shirt, but Ludacris’ mood didn’t match his dark outfit; he was easygoing and jovial throughout.
“I think this side over here is the livest one tonight,” Luda said.
Island Def Jam boss L.A. Reid, Universal/Motown chief Sylvia Rhone and former Warner Music Group executive Kevin Liles were among those in attendance to see ’Cris. The “Sexting” star then closed things out with his breakout hit “What’s Your Fantasy.”