Check out our interview with opening act The Knux here.
Patten Gym has never housed a crowd like the one that came out and shook their moneymakers for Ludacris on Friday night. In one of the most energetic performances I’ve seen at Northwestern, the rapper thrilled the crowd as over a thousand sweaty students yelled along to every word — or at least every chorus.
Luda performed hit after hit in a power hour of his most popular tracks. One thing was made certain: The man knows how to work his crowd. Cracking jokes and amping up the crowd at every opportunity, Ludacris kept the audience moving throughout the set. Just after he finished his 2001 single “Area Codes,” in which he raps about his surplus of hos around the country, he stopped and asked the crowd, “Forget about the hos, where are all the beautiful independent ladies at?” This was a question that was extremely well-received by the ladies in attendance.
Earlier that night, Pac Div performed a fairly forgettable set followed by The Knux who entered the stage to a room that was part enthusiastic but mostly uninterested. Their live performance of the hit “Bang! Bang!” did the track little justice and students grew tired of the duo’s between song antics.
Rachel Xanttopoulos, a Weinberg sophomore, grew impatient throughout the two hours between doors opening and the headliner taking stage. After The Knux left the stage, she said, “It’s been pretty boring, especially when they stopped the show to pull people on the stage.” She then added optimistically, “I think it’ll get a lot better when Luda comes out.”
Once Ludacris hit the stage, no one really seemed to care or even remember how tired, annoyed and hot they once were. An infectious surge of adrenaline coursed through Patten when he finally started his set at 9:48 p.m. that lasted throughout the hour-plus long set.
Once the audience was sufficiently warmed up, Ludacris performed his first hit single “What’s Your Fantasy,” and surprised everyone when Shawnna took the stage to complete the duet. She joined him in several more songs and competed in a “Battle of the Sexes” where she showed off her supreme rapping skills.
Throughout the show, Luda made the audience scream, laugh and get down. He even got political when he stated that Barack Obama’s victory is “reason enough to celebrate for the rest of our lives.”
As students poured out of Patten at the shows end Weinberg freshman Rene Rodriguez exclaimed, “Luda was fuckin’ awesome,” and he wasn’t alone in his sentiments.
Carryn Christianson, a SESP senior, could barely contain herself as she exclaimed, “I don’t think I would’ve ever had the opportunity to see Luda like this except at Northwestern. It was amazing!”
A&O Concert Chair and Weinberg senior Forrest Wickman was extremely pleased with the event. “I think it was our most popular Patten show in years … the level of excitement was unparalleled.”
And as the last wave of energy swept over and out of the building, and the final students trickled out, the members of A & O, some of which were handing out souvenir ping-pong balls, got to work.
As she stood in the Patten lobby smiling widely, outgoing chairperson and Bienen senior Syd Cohen was overwhelmed by the experience of her last A & O Ball. “I think the show went really well,” Cohen exclaimed. “I couldn’t have asked for a more exciting final show, and if I talk anymore I’m going to cry.”