Set under the Manhattan Bridge, Pier 36 hosted New York’s Heineken Inspire Encore concert this past Saturday. Similar to the concert setting of July’s West Side event, Heineken put together another great night. The domino and card tables were a plus for friends and newly made friends to kill time. No Rolling Stone photo shoot but the Heineken Inspire Red, and Green scale pictures were a great take away for guests who manned the long line.
With two beer stations (one bottle, one tap) to wash down the free hot dogs, tacos, pretzels, and Jamaican Beef Patties, the festival vibe embraced the arts with sketches from Hip-Hop Artist Justin Bau (Remember Slum Village’s “Tainted” Video? Yeah…Bau sketched it). An entire wall was dedicated to his drawings of Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie and Slick Rick. And yes the venue even held a recording booth where the brave stepped up to the mic and got a chance to record a few bars.
Roxy Cottontail was the first to touch the turntables, giving background music to the arriving guests at Heineken Inspire Encore concert. Spinning mostly house music, at times her selections seemed ill fitted for an event featuring Nas and Cee-Lo. Diplo eventually relieved her, playing more Hip-Hop and setting the mood for the first performance of the night.
J. Cole kicked off the event, performing “Higher” off his new Mixtape Friday Night Lights, bringing North Carolina to Manhattan. He engaged his real fans with “Who Dat” and his radio fans with his “All I Want is You,” J. Cole did an amazing job at setting the tone for those who followed. Ending with his verse on Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 “A Star is Born,” J. Cole easily showed why the St. John’s graduate will be successful.
Pete Rock continued the wave of energy, spinning a few of his featured records and calling to stage Dres from Black sheep. Hyping he crowd with his performance of “This or That,” Dres also performed Forever Luvlee, one of his most recent releases. Shocking the stage, The Godfather of Hip-Hop, DJ Kool Herc, awed attendees with a brief catwalk entrance. Taking the time to shake hands with fans, Herc grabbed the mic and spoke a few words about Hip-Hop. Breaking up the music vibe, Amber Rose popped up on a corner of the stage and chatted with a few fans before retiring to the VIP section.
Cee-Lo Green walked onto the catwalk stage in an all white outfit that matched his lacey all girl band. Playing the longest set of the night, there was an imbalance between his music and the crowd. Playing a few songs from his latest album The Lady Killer, he ended his set with his latest single “F*ck You.” Maybe it was the Lady Killer tunes or the fact that Cee-Lo said he was bored on stage. but the crowd grew weary for what seemed to go on forever.
The crowd grew more restless as it took stagehands over an hour to break down the stage from Cee-Lo’s performances and set it up for the main attraction. Nas jumped on stage in all black attire rocking out most of his songs with a live band. Very much the performer, Nas captivated the audience with his hits “One Mic,” “Hip-Hop is Dead,” “Got Yourself a Gun,” “NY State of Mind,” and “If I Ruled the World.” After jumping in the crowd and being saved by his bodyguards, Nas brought out his drummer and did an acoustic rendition of One Mic inviting audience participation for the chorus.
The house lights turned on quickly after Nas left the stage and a dazed crowd was forced to leave the vent space. Contrary to what the event originally promised, there was no Ryan Lesile or Special Guest. Heineken Inspire Encore concert goers were given posters as they exited the Pier and walked out into the night.
Video and Pictures of Heineken Inspire Encore will soon follow…