Collegian Staff Writer
Looking like a Jamaican mix between G.I. Joe and Jack Sparrow, Sean Paul turned the Bryce Jordan Center into a dancehall last night, pleasing the crowd with his arsenal of hit songs.
Paul fans were treated to an introduction by another impossible-to-understand MC who shouted out directions to the crowd like a European dictator.
But that was just the warm-up, as shortly thereafter Sean Da Paul took the stage along with a full band and camouflage-clad backup dancers, opening with the upbeat hit "Like Glue."
The high-energy performance came after Bubba Sparxxx, the opening act, brought his brand of Dirty South hip-hop to the stage. Bubba's set was brief, as he came onstage about 30 minutes late.
His late arrival was a blessing in disguise, however, as his short time onstage was full of lip-synching and pandering to the crowd. There were more mentions of the Notre Dame game on Saturday than there were live rhymes in Bubba's songs.
The lone highlight of Sparxxx's abbreviated set was the Timbaland-produced "Deliverance," which got the crowd into the mix. However, this crowd wanted the hits, and every woman in the building was shaking her moneymaker for the worst song of the year, "Ms. New Booty."
In between sets, a couple uninspired DJs made the same reference to the Notre Dame game and Penn State's number two party school ranking that they made before the show, then threw out free swag to the crowd. It was reminiscent of one of those lame high school pep rallies, except I've never seen couples grinding at any of those.
The crowd was elated to be rid of the inter-set hacks in favor of Sean Paul, who didn't disappoint. His energy extended deep into his set, each song flowing seamlessly into the next with very few breaks in between. I'd compare him to Speedy Gonzalez, but I don't remember any episodes where Speedy sported cornrows, bling or a Jamaican accent.
It's difficult to judge the technical merit of a live show by Sean Paul, since if he'd forgotten any words no one would be able to tell the difference. It probably wouldn't have mattered much to last night's crowd anyway, as the Jamaican hit machine kept the people on the floor on their dancing toes.
The authoritarian MC interjected whenever Paul needed his breaks, and he apparently suffers from severe short-term memory loss, as he asked roughly 586 times where the "sexy ladies" were.
Someone also needs to send a press release to Jamaica telling its citizens that nobody does the peace sign anymore. When implored to put them up during "Never Gonna Be the Same," the crowd awkwardly threw up the symbol that was last popular around the same time as bell bottoms and Jefferson Airplane.
But Paul drove the point into the ground, doing his best Bob Marley impression (which was, in fact, not very good) with a slow reggae beat and an acoustic guitar. The crowd was seemingly not enthused, as many used this time for their bathroom break.
No, these people came for the hits, and Paul was at his best when he delivered them. He saved his biggest ones for last and in the process sent the audience home happy.