Live review: Black Eyed Peas turn Staples Center into intergalactic playground
There was a moment at the Black Eyed Peas concert Tuesday night at Staples Center when the screams from the audience were enough to shatter glass and earlobes, and it had nothing to do with the powerhouse group.
In fact, the moment occurred during opener Ludacris’ set as the rapper introduced special guest Justin Bieber, the precocious pop sensation who dominates the trending topic stream of Twitter on a daily basis. The 16-year-old took the stage to perform his hit “Baby” with every bit of swagger as the single-named pop stars he is now bumping off the charts.With the crowd at its feet, and a few girls close by tweeting their hearts out, this was the moment that set the tone for what would be a night of sensory overload as the group responsible for dominating the pop charts last year with its album “The E.N.D.” hit the stage.
Tuesday was the last of two dates the Peas played in Los Angeles, and there wasn’t a single sign of fatigue as they played hit after hit.
Hits like "I Gotta Feeling," "Rock Your Body" and "Meet Me Halfway" played like intergalactic jams on a stage that looked more like a sci-fi playground. And although the over-the-top costumes, which featured lots of shiny, space-themed looks, would appear lamer on anyone other than Lady Gaga, the group never lost a single ounce of cool -- even when a bevy of rump-shaking robots came out.With so many hits under its belt, the group effectively presented a live offering worthy of any stadium or arena, opting to showcase fan and radio favorites as opposed to obscurities. In keeping with the futuristic theme, the show was broadcast in 3-D for viewers at the neighboring Regal Cinema.
Though the Peas heavily showcased the hodgepodge of pop, electronic, hip-hop and funk they're known for, there was time for each member to shine too. Fergie performed a string of hits from her platinum solo album, will.i.am chose to ditch his own music in favor of a rousing DJ set, Taboo straddled a “Tron”-inspired motorcycle and zipped over the audience during his set, and Apl.de.Ap celebrated his Filipino roots through song and dance.
A highlight of the nearly two-hour set was a cameo by former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, who joined a black leather-clad Fergie for a performance of “Beautiful and Dangerous,” a track the pair collaborated on for Slash’s upcoming self-titled album.
Openers Ludacris and LMFAO were mere footnotes in the memory of concertgoers, compared with the young phenom that is Bieber, but the Peas held their own in a flashy arena show that proved exactly why they are a such a force in today’s pop landscape.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: (L-R) Will.i.am, Fergie and Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas at New York city's Madison Square Garden in February. Credit: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images.