It was a night of acronyms, as B.E.P., also known as the Black
Eyed Peas, and N.E.R.D, a group composed of hip-hop gurus The
Neptunes, performed at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver Sunday
B.E.P. took the stage first, a surprise for many audience
members who may have been expecting them to headline the event.
However, despite the fact that they weren’t saved for last, they
were definitely the best. B.E.P. proved they have an incredible
onstage chemistry and it clearly translated to the audience. The
energy in the audience was palatable.
Part of this may be due to the addition of Stacy Ann Fergusen,
known to fans as Fergie, whose addition has given the group a whole
new sound. Even though her vocal talent is evident on the group’s
newest album “Elephunk,” in person, her voice literally blows you
away. However, many longtime B.E.P. fans objected to Fergie’s
addition to group, but after seeing the show no one could deny it
was an excellent decision.
The Black Eyed Peas have always created some of their best work
with female vocalists, the most notable of which is “Request Line,”
an under-played song that should have been a hit and featured Macy
Gray. Now with the permanent addition of female powerhouse Fergie,
the group has obviously found its ideal sound and audiences have
found one of the best hip-hop groups around.
However, clearly what mattered most to the audience and B.E.P.
was the music. While hits off their new album such as “Shut Up,”
and “Let’s Get Retarded” got a huge audience response, what was
more surprising was how well-received the freestyle interlude was.
What can sometimes become a tedious experience, especially for
people who bought tickets to hear songs off the radio, became one
of the show’s high points.
In fact, the Black Eyed Peas put on such a good show that we
didn’t even notice until they actually started singing it that they
hadn’t played their biggest hit “Where is the Love?” Clearly the
love was at the Fillmore Sunday.
After B.E.P. did such a good job of hyping up the crowd,
N.E.R.D. fell a little below expectations.
If you came to the N.E.R.D. show expecting to catch Pharrell
Williams or Chad Hugo in their well-known roles laying beats like
they have for record breakers such as Jay-Z, Usher and Justin
Timberlake, you must have left sorely disappointed. If you came
with knowledge of the group’s previous work and an idea of what you
were in for, you were impressed with the show, which for some
reason was not attended by Chad Hugo. Bummer on the no-go with
Hugo, but thumbs up to both Williams and Shay, the other two-thirds
of N.E.R.D., on a pretty impressive show.
Williams and Hugo have both come to the forefront of the pop
music scene recently with their group The Neptunes’ involvement in
many popular acts. N.E.R.D. (an acronym for No One Ever Really
Dies) is the duo with a third, Shay, in what the group calls “the
offspring of the Neptunes id, a fly-or-die, thrash-around,
do-as-you-will, set-your-soul-on-fire alter-ego” on its Web
We’re not sure if all of those qualities were present Sunday
night at the Fillmore in Denver, but the band did put on a fine
display of musical ability with Williams being the show’s
Make no mistakes people, Williams is a singer, and a pretty good
one at that. And Shay is no bust when it comes to his hip-hop
talents either. With a back-up band that rocked and a crowd that
did the same, the show came together pretty well with highlights
including the group’s current hit “She Likes to Move” as well as
previous-album highlight “Rockstar.”
There were a couple of things that probably could have improved
the show. Had Williams not encouraged the crowd to sing so many of
the lyrics it would have been easier to enjoy him singing the high
hooks. Also, the drums seemed to overpower a lot of the mid- and
Overall though, it looks like N.E.R.D. has a bright future and
an already impressive past. And presently they’re deservedly one of
the hottest groups on the scene.