It hasn’t been the luckiest year for the Bryce Jordan Center as far as concerts go. One concert (Tiesto) was postponed for 4 months because of an injury, and four others (Pretty Lights, Lady Gaga, Green Day, America’s Got Talent) were cancelled completely, for various reasons.
So I was slightly disappointed when the BJC announced that rapper Kendrick Lamar would be bringing his good kid, m.A.A.d city World Tour to Penn State. To be honest, I didn’t think that he would live up to the other shows that had gotten my hopes up previously. I wasn’t sure that Lamar was big enough to be a headlining act.
Boy, was I wrong.
Lamar started off the night with an upbeat version of “Art of Peer Pressure” and didn’t stop all night. He blasted through hits from his oldest mixtapes and EPs (“Who’s been listening to be from Day 1? This is your first test of the night!” he asked the crowd as the first beats of “P & P” blasted through the speakers) to his latest album good kid, m.A.A.d city, to his part on A$AP Rocky’s anthem F*ckin Problems. He added “Penn State, this is my first time on this stage, this is the first time at this school, and we gon’ light it up tonight”, and while this might not actually be the first time he has been in State College, he certainly came through on his promise to light it up.
Lamar might not have many “anthems” or Top-10 Radio hits, but the depth of his newest album certainly made up for any concerns. He played almost every song on his GKMC, including “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”, “m.A.A.d city”, “Poetic Justice”, and “Money Trees”. He ended the night with his biggest hit to date “Swimming Pools (Drank)”, before coming out for an encore with “Cartoon and Cereal”.
Lamar’s biggest hit of the night might have been when he talked about Lady Lions star Alex Bentley, and how the guard was recently drafted by the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.
“Y’all make some noise for Bentley over here, she goin’ to the WNBA,” Lamar yelled. “I tried to wear her jersey up here, but they wouldn’t let me, I had to wear this one,” referring to the custom Penn State jersey he had received earlier in the night and wore for the whole show. As Lamar walked off the stage with Bentley on his arm, he reminded the crowd “No matter how big or how small we both get, I’ll always be back for y’all”.
And despite it being one of the shorter concerts I’ve seen recently (only about 70 minutes long), after Monday’s performance I can only hope that he’s back soon.