ATLANTIC CITY — Hopefully, the more than 13,000 people who attended the sold-out Black Eyed Peas show Saturday in the arena at Boardwalk Hall purchased brand new dancing shoes.
The dance/hip-hop group performed an almost entirely up-tempo concert that kept the people with seats on the sides and at the back of the arena standing throughout.
Black Eyed Peas started as a hip-hip group 15 years ago, but their transformation into a dance and party group with a little hip-hop sprinkled in is complete, and they are at the height of their popularity because of it.
In most cases, this genre switch would not work, but in their case, it does because the danceable elements of the past three CDs have been their memorable aspects.
The group naturally evolved, making its strongest ingredient its prime selling point.
Black Eyed Peas — made up of rapper and producer will.i.am, fellow rappers Taboo and apl.de.ap, and singer Fergie — took the stage at 8:35 p.m. and performed 2003’s “Let’s Get It Started” with the name of the group emblazoned in big, black, capital letters on the video screens behind them that were engulfed in red flames.
They only performed songs from their past three CDs: “Elephunk” from 2003, “Monkey Business” from 2005 and “The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies)” from 2009.
As performers, the Black Eyed Peas are not that exciting on their own, or at least not entertaining enough to keep an arena full of people amped for almost two hours, but the group came with a great deal of help to assist them with their nonstop show.
Their stage set featured a runway that extended from the center into the middle of the floor of the arena where all the fans stood.
Laser lights shot off the stage and into the audience during songs such as “Rock That Body” from their latest CD. Six dancers wore outfits that resembled stereo speakers, so you couldn’t tell whether they were men or women in the beginning. Video screens showed the Earth from outer space, audience members, text messages from the crowd and other visual delights during the futuristic-themed show.
Some of their most recent material was among the most popular songs of the show.
The crowd sang along to “Imma Be,” from their newest CD, and applauded at its conclusion as loudly as they did to earlier hits such as “Don’t Phunk with My Heart” from 2005.
One of the things that is good about seeing the Black Eyed Peas live is that you can clearly hear the two less well-known members — Taboo and apl.de.ap — rapping and contributing to the group.
Apl.de.ap did some of the fanciest dancing of the night during his solo segment, which included the song “Bebot” from 2005’s “Monkey Business.” Taboo flew over the audience in a futuristic motorcycle as he rapped the song “Rockin to the Beat” from their newest CD.
But the two stars of the show were Fergie and will.i.am, and they did not disappoint.
Fergie was on stage by herself for a three-song set, but she didn’t perform “London Bridge” or “Clumsy.” She first performed “Fergalicious,” then only performed part of “Glamorous,” not making it to the part of the song that contains profanity. The ballad “Big Girls Don’t Cry” was a big hit with the crowd as they sang along on the chorus, and it was one of the few songs that a person could sit down for during the show.
Will.i.am, who showed he wasn’t a great rapper during his freestyle segment, made up for it during his DJ set.
Dressed like the Terminator, will.i.am stood behind a set of turntables that rose up from under the walkway/ramp in the center of the orchestra. He treated the crowd to old-school but universal jams such as Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” and Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines (Don’t Do It),” keeping his promise of transforming the concert hall into a nightclub.
With crowd pleasers including “Where is the Love?,” “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling” to close the show, the Black Eyed Peas sent most of the crowd on their way on a sweaty but exhilarating high.
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