BlackBerry’s Kid Cudi Secret Gig was an eye-popping mind-blowing experience full of fun, suspense and a feeling of happiness that lingered on for days to follow. When an event is advertised as ‘secret’, words like ‘intimate’, ‘exclusive’, and ‘cosy’ come to mind, and when the invite says smart/formal; scenes of fifty or less people comfortably cramped in a small homey lounge-type venue fill the imagination. I wondered how an artist like Kid Cudi who feeds off the energy of his audience would react to this type of setup and was pleasantly surprised to have my initial assumptions proven wrong.
After arriving an hour after the said time on the invite to the meeting point (GPS and thinking you know where you going can be a very deadly combination) and not seeing a car in sight for the longest time on the dark street lamp-less road, we were half-expecting to find the place a ghost town with everyone already gone to the show until we spotted a Quantum with the words Kid Cudi Secret Gig emblazoned on its back window. Excited again, we followed it to the meeting point, and saw even more of these Quantums waiting to transport a long-winding trail of people queuing for tags. The process worked like clockwork and was not the logistical nightmare it could have been. We only waited fifteen minutes until we were shown into a Quantum. Our anticipation and suspense was further heightened by the Quantum’s blackened windows and a partition placed right behind the driver’s seat up to the roof of the taxi. It was tantamount to being blindfolded and added to the whole ‘secret’ experience.
To this day I don’t know where the actual venue was but it was a very short drive from the meeting point. We were dropped off right at the entrance and led to the door that was protected by two huge bouncers dressed in all black. We were greeted by a buzzing foyer with a photo area and led to a case of stairs that presented a dramatic aerial perspective of the venue. It looked like a club that could be found in Las Vegas and gave off a very luxurious and contemporary vibe. . Two pretty ladies greeted and offered us free Millers as soon as we walked into the main area. Multi-tiered with an outside balcony that gave a sparkling view of East Joahannesburg’s industrial infrastructure, the dazzling palette of colours and lighting created a truly multi-sensory experience.
AKA was the opening act of the night giving an exceptional energetic performance . A born entertainer he did not disappoint the crowd. Afterwards, a performance was given by the rapper he mentored in the BlackBerry Mentorship Programme. By that time the crowd was growing restless chanting “Cudi! Cudi! Cudi!” A message popped up on the screen behind the stage and then a set of doors were opened up that were hidden behind white curtains. Chaos ensued as people rushed to get to the hall-like room with the bigger stage, literally tearing down the curtains and pushing the ushers out the way. The crowd’s anticipation was at a frenzied pitch and the air was dripping with electric excitement. “We want Cudi!” the crowd screamed; their impatience akin to the mob found in Ancient Rome’s Coliseum waiting for their gladiator Kid Cudi to arrive.
He finally entered the stage with his moniker Cudder written in blood red across a rising sun on the screen behind him. He opened up with his latest single “King Wizard” then sueged into “Soundtrack 2 My Life” from his first album setting the tone for his whole set of past and present Kid Cudi. He presented a captivating show with a live band as well as a DJ. Dressed in a black leather wife-beater that reached his knees, white skinny jeans and a simple inconspicuous chain, he doesn’t exude the gaudiness of a typical rapper and he does everything except brag. He radiates a humble warm energy that really allows you to connect with him and he moved around the whole stage as if trying to make sure he locked eyes with everyone in the room. He puts his all into every song whether it’s his him crooning “Ghost” on the mic with a passionate sad intensity or jumping Jack Rabbit style to “Mojo So Dope”. Even the lighting enhanced the roller coasting moods of his songs with the room dimming green when he performed “Marijuana” and flashing when he performed “Man on The Moon”. His vocals never faltered and the guy really can sing. His live set sounded as good as his records. The crowd seemed to know every word to all his songs so he managed to bounce lines back and forth with ease. He peppered his set with jokes and gratitude for the love given to him by his fans and the enthusiasm from the crowd was a testament to how loyal his fanbase is. He even brought out King Chip and they performed “Just What I Am” and “Hyyerr” together.
Interestingly enough he never performed his biggest commercial successes like his breakout song “Day ‘N Night” or the David Guetta track that he features on “Memories”, but he did end his set with an amazing performance of “Pursuit of Happiness” as well as its remix ; passing around a huge bottle of Jameson for the crowd to take shots from ending his concert by turning it into a full on rave.
Even though the hall felt like a sauna what with no ventilation and the weed smoke choking the air, Kid Cudi’s sonic diversity and ability to move people’s souls with his lyrics made his 90 minute concert a truly wonderful and unforgettable experience.
Written By: Nomusa Mthethwa (@NomusaMT)
Trollling the internet we came across this footage from the show; Up close and personal compliments of JohnLio07 . Check out his Youtube channel for more footage.