Nas @ House Of Blues - Orlando, Florida  

written by Brainiac - June 29th, 2003    
The trip to my local ticketmaster.

The trip to the venue.

The amount of time it takes the minute hand to revolve around a clock.

The average Nas CD.

What do all these things have in common? They are all at least sixty minutes or more. They are all longer than the June 29th Nas concert at House of Blues in Orlando FL. I was warned…. I didn’t listen. The curiosity behind whether or not one of my favorite rapper's could do a great live show was driving me crazy. I just had to know…Was it all hate? Or was it all genuine criticism.

The show opened up with a virtually unknown rap duo known as Mista Raja. In a nutshell, this group performed no memorable songs, and sound like a cross between Joe Budden and Jay-Z. I figured that being newcomers, maybe their live show hasn’t really developed. So, I got my hands on a promo CD. I give it a listen on the way home. One word: Garbage. If you are the type of person that likes the generic version…Than for all of you searching for a safe alternate to Jay-Z or Joe Budden, see Mista Raja when they emerge in your local record store.

As for Nas, as a whole, I must say that I am very disappointed. This is a man who I have watched evolve over the years. A man whose 7+-album catalog was something I was sure wouldn’t disappoint me in a live show. What happens? Nas comes on stage at 8:55pm, and makes his exit at 9:50. Only 55 minutes long. Now, trust me, I can go on for days in regards to how a man with such an extensive catalog can only give us a 55-minute show, but I will leave it at that. Any fan of Nas’ debut Illmatic will vouch that Nas can give us classic material in less than sixty minutes. (39 minutes to be exact)

The set started out with "Get Down". While I would’ve chose a different song to start the show, I can’t say it didn’t get the crowd moving. Then Nas basically takes us back in time to "Live At The BBQ", and then to "Verbal Intercourse" from ‘Cuban Linx’. Vintage Nas such as that would bring a sly grin to nearly any fan of hip hop’s face. The highlight of the evening would have to be ‘Ether’; the classic diss track that single handedly shook a whole label. Claiming that Jigga was now running with 50 Cent to boost his career and sampling ‘Girlz Girlz Girlz’ got the crowd even hyper. However, what’s weird is, after the song, Nas apologized stating that he didn’t mean anything he said. What a way to totally defeat the purpose of such a scorching track Nas.

The track in which I have heard the most hints about is ‘One Mic’. I figured that I knew what to expect…. But I would at least be given a new twist to it. Wrong. The song started out with Nas on one knee, and the crowd got more and more into it when Nas voice would intensify. In other words, at the end of each verse. If one has seen the video, they have seen it performed live. Not much of a difference. Other tracks that the crowd got into was "Hate Me Now" and "I Can". The crowd actually sang along in both hooks. (Something that was rare in the evening). I must say I was disappointed in the crowds participation during classic Nas songs (i.e. Life’s A Bit*h, One Love’, and ‘Nas Is Like’). It’s as if the crowd was focusing on everything except for Nas. I felt like I was the only one who knew the words to the songs. One other plus is that Nas spared us of the verses to horrible radio tracks like "Nastradamus, K-I-s-s-I-n-g, and ‘You Owe Me’. Maybe one or two females in the whole building got into the song, which is probably the reason why he gave us the hook to the songs. Nas ended his show with "Made You Look". The crowd was not half as hype as I thought they would be. Which is probably why the crowd was left scratching their heads with expressions on their face that said they were longing for more. And this was only the 55-minute mark.

Negatives: Nas breath control is horrible. His hype men performed half the show, so it was virtually like Nas only rapped for 27.5 minutes. He couldn’t finish a single bar, leaving his hype men to fill in all his blanks, which were quite plentiful. The only song in which Nas did totally solo was "One Mic". His crowd control is lackluster. He didn’t seem to have much control of the crowd, more like the crowd had control of him. Then his song selection was just so-so. With over 7 albums since 1994, you’d think he’d give us more than 1 albums worth of the material. And the fact that I paid $40.50 for the ticket left me feeling EXTREMELY cheated. Honestly, I would’ve only felt like I got my moneys worth if paid $5, and this is coming from a very loyal Nas fan. As a whole, I was thoroughly disappointed with the Nas show. The only way I’d see him again is if he gave us 3 free shows, because only then, over the course of four shows would I feel like I got my moneys worth. I wouldn’t recommend a Nas show to anybody. The only thing worth mentioning is the highlights, which were few and far between. To all you Nas fans who haven’t seen him live, stick to his albums, because at least in the that arena he has somewhat of an idea as to what he is doing. I give this show 4.5 out of 10.

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