Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Film Review - The Black Eyed Peas: The E.N.D World Tour LIVE

The Black Eyed Peas concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles was broadcast live in about 500 theatres across North America. In Toronto, fans took in the concert at the Scotiabank Theatre at 259 Richmond Street West. Showtime was a late 10:30 start, reflecting the 3-hour time differential between here and the west coast.

The broadcast opened with a half-hour presentation for theatres only, showing behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and music videos. There were a few glitches, with the sound often dropping out for a split second, or drifting out of sync with the visuals during the music videos. The drop outs continued throughout the concert as well.

The 2-hour concert was fun and well-staged. It maintained a sci-fi robot theme throughout the night. The Black Eyed Peas have a natural opening number with Let’s Get It Started, and capped the night with their equally rousing I Gotta Feeling. Each member took at least one solo turn: began with Bebot, rapping in both English and his native language Tagalog from the Philippines, and then breakdancing; Taboo performed on a motorcycle from the movie Tron, and was hoisted high over the crowds; Fergie did some of her solo material - Fergalicious, Glamorous (joined by rapper Ludacris) and ballad Big Girls Don’t Cry.

Then came onstage for a 15-minute set as a DJ, dropping tunes such as Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, Journey's Don't Stop Believin' and Michael Jackson numbers Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough and Thriller. (Ironically, my friends and I had just had a lengthy discussion about him and pedophilia just before the show began). The DJ set was fun, but for a concert it seemed out of place. He showed off his talents to better effect earlier in the night with a freestyle rap to random messages texted by audiences members.

They were occasionally joined by 6 women dancers who like the Peas themselves were dressed in sci-fi robot-themed costumes throughout the night. In addition to Ludacris, another cameo was provided by Slash, who performed the first half of Sweet Child o' Mine with Fergie, before playing Beautiful and Dangerous from Slash's upcoming album.

The filming of the concert wasn't always spot on. Early in the show, some of the camera work was inexplicable and we had no idea what was intended to be seen. The darkness of the stadium meant that the cameras had trouble focusing sometimes. mentioned that the concert was being broadcast in 3D, which if true was not the case in our theatre.

But it was a good way to experience the show for those who couldn't attend. If the technical glitches get worked out, I would think that it will become the preferable way to experience shows such as  this. Stadium concerts are prohibitively expensive and usually you end up seeing the performers as ants on the stage. The theatrical broadcast gives you a front row seat at a fraction of the price.

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