Devin the Dude Concert
The Waiting Room - Omaha, NE
May 12th, 2010
Article and photos by Steve 'Flash' Juon
Better late than never, I'm coming through for you with a Devin the Dude concert review. A lot of things conspired against this review ever happening. First and foremost, I was feeling sick as shit the night this concert actually took place. Originally I was going to interview Devin personally, but out of respect to him and to the label I didn't want to pass him a cold while he was in the middle of a nationwide tour, so we postponed a personal session for another day and time. It's not as though it hurt readers of the site greatly though given Adam B interviewed Devin back in April so this would have simply been an extension of what he had done as an exclusive video for the website. Ironically me being too sick to do the interview worked out though as my camera crapped out that night at the show, so getting any usable video footage would have been near impossible. Let's give credit where it's due to the venue in this case, because the bass in my face standing front row at the show is probably what shook my shit to the point it went South. Last but not least the crapout OF said camera caused me to switch up at a moment's notice and take pics with my cell phone instead, but then I had two different types of files stored on two different devices to combine together. Perhaps this article should have been titled "Lessons on what NOT to do when covering a rap show." Learn from my mistakes people. Still since I toughed out illness, rain, parking, a capacity crowd AND a broken camera it's time to make use of what I've got and give it to you the readers for your enjoyment.
If you've ever heard the phrase "one fight card" to describe a boxing or MMA PPV where the only reason people bought it or showed up was for the main event, that phrase suits this night's Devin concert equally well. People in the crowd talked about nothing but Devin, and nobody performed who was not affiliated with Devin or in his crew. I fully expected the Coughee Brothaz to open the show as a result, but I was there at 9 PM CST and the stage didn't start filling up with smoke until 10:20. Normally at the hip-hop shows I've been to from the Midwest to the East, the venue puts on at least one if not two local acts trying to make a name for themselves to kill time once the doors open - no such luck tonight. Also it seems that the Coughee Brothaz have now branched out and started forming crews in other areas, because the DJ kept playing a loud drop to remind us these were the Coughee Brothaz NORTH, not to be confused with the originals I had seen in concert before. Okay, whatever. I was just glad someone had finally jumped on stage.
CBN kept things rolling for a good 30-40 minutes, and after a short delay The Dude himself hit the stage. The smell of chronic in the air was fairly strong even before this point, but Suite #420 took this shit to a whole different level. Normally dudes crush the stage for two reasons - the first is a bunch of hot girls just started stripping at the behest of the artist, the second is when someone on stage says "the craziest motherfucker in here gets to party with me tonight." I can now add a third item to that list - WEED SMOKER HERO WORSHIP. You've never seen so many people try to hand one rapper a joint or a blunt at one time just to take a puff. It's not very intoxicating to have it in the air around me after going to shows for over 17 years, but I'll be damned if a first-timer wouldn't have gotten a contact high from that shit. Devin's posse had to literally smoke/soak up the extras for him as there was just no way in hell he could smoke every single thing that came his way. NORML should put this man on tour with Cypress Hill to promote legalizing weed - they'd do box office business.
As for his performance, well I can't say it was EXTREMELY different to past experience with the Dude in concert. He's a very energetic and charismatic rapper, prone to sing or scat a freestyle at any time between songs, and probably does as much or more vocal turntablism than Scratch from The Roots - which he usually emphasizes by putting his hand out and pretending to flex on some invisible Wheels of Steel. While some songs from Suite #420 did make their way into the mix, Devin's set was largely the "greatest hits" his fans already know and love. As such it's a given he's going to do his verse from Dr. Dre's "Fuck You" and his verse from Scarface's "Fuck Faces" along with blunted solo classics like "Doobie Ashtray" and make the crowd sing the chorus to "Lacville 79." Let me be clear - there AIN'T nothin' wrong with that. A live Devin set is always entertaining, but aside from who he brings with him to open and who hangs out on stage with him (occasionally performing a song to give Devin a breather) one show is almost exactly like the other - only the date and time changes. Die-hard Devin supporters will keep coming back to each show (no doubt I will) and if you're a casual fan you might wait until he's part of a larger festival or tour.
As a "one card fight" Devin is alright, but be warned that he generally starts late and goes on past midnight, and if you've seen him before it's virtually the same (charismatic) show you've already seen. If you're fighting a cold too and smoke is in the air everywhere it's a challenge but he's a consistent enough performer to make it all worth the effort. If you've never seen his performance before, you owe it to yourself as a hip-hop fan to go at least once - and cop that Suite #420 album while you're at it.
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