Nothing was doing on Monday night aside from folding laundry and a new episode of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat, so when we heard about a special Pharrell & Friends concert sponsored by MySpace and Helio, we shirked the shit out of all that other shit.
The concert was held in Los Angeles on the parking lot roof of the ArcLight Cinemas—the city's most cushy and most expensive movie theatre (it's also supposedly owned by Scientologists, but don't quote us on that). The crowd included 400 of Pharrell's 70829 MySpace friends, at least one former Real World cast member, Andy Shmillis Shomkis, maybe Paris Hilton, the Cobrasnake, TI, some goobers, some creeps, some good folks, some fans of the color pink and most importantly—Sir Laurence Fishburne rolling with Heavy Diddley-Diddley D.
Now when a concert is advertised as "Pharrell & Friends" that means the friends could potentially be Jay-Z and Gwen Stefani, then again they could potentially be Fam-Lay and Robin Thicke. (We have nada against Fam and Thicke, but our expectations were high.) We had heard lots of rumors, though we were pretty sure that Prince would not show up.
Around 8:30 Pharrell took the stage with his band and N*E*R*D's Shay handling hypeman/BBC T-shirt wearer duties. He started with "Can I Have It Like That," went into "Baby" from his upcoming In My Mind (though Nelly did not appear) and then came with "Frontin," but had the crowd do the Jay-Z part. And then he commenced with the CAVALCADE OF FRIENDS.
First up was Lupe Fiasco, who performed his remix of "Kick, Push"—though Pharrell seemed to have forgotten the words to his guest verse, which we did too—and then proceeded with the recently leaked Neptunes production "I Gotcha" from his still forthcoming Food & Liquor.
Next was Clipse with Ab-Liva, and they tore through "Grindin," "Hot Damn," new single "Mr Me Too," and "What Happened To That Boy." Pusha had the best sunglasses game that night (yes, there were a lot of sunglasses on post-sunset) with some red framed joints that looked distinctly Hot Topic, and with his red polo, khaki shorts and cellphone-on-belt holster, Malice was rocking a distinctly awesome "contractor at a BBQ" look. We knew those dudes put in work!
Slim Th-ugh-uh's turn then came up in the batting order. His appearance was kind of expected, though we had hoped he'd be too busy phoning in a guest verse on someone's R&B song to make it. After an unenthusiastic "Keep It Playa" from In My Mind and "I Ain't Heard Of That," dude was done.
Then came the movie stars.
Ludacris was probably the most energetic man to hold a mic that night, but we can't cosign on his diamond medallion in the shape of Africa. It's not quite as as bad as a yarmulke with a picture of Hitler on it, but it's getting there. Still, "Southern Hospitality" and the new Neptunes joint "Money Maker" (which features the Luda line Let me give you some swimming lessons on my penis/ Backstroke, breaststroke, stroke of a genius) are the pure hot fuego.
Closing out the night was Snoop Dogg, who gently meandered onstage for crowd-pleasers "Beautiful" and "Drop It Like It's Hot." He then stayed around for comic quips and Pharrell's rendition of "Number One." Almost as an afterthought, Pharrell finished the set solo with In My Mind closer "Show You How To Hustle."
Before the show we had continued to grow weary of Pharrell's antics and attitude. For all his big talk, he's started to strike us even more like a guy who probably would take a girl home from the club, make her watch Transformers DVDs until she fell asleep and then goes to masturbate in the shower, but when the night was over, we realized how much other artists really love this guy—for both his music and his persona(s)—and genuinely enjoy being in his presence. That's probably why he's already moved up to 70906 MySpace friends since we started writing this.
Best intentionally funny MySpace-related mentions onstage (tie): Ludacris changing the lyrics of "Southern Hospitality" to "MySpace girls give me MySpace head" and Snoop Dogg telling the crowd, "You have to smoke to get on my Friends List. I've been waiting to get Pharrell on there for years."
Best unintentionally funny MySpace-related mention onstage: Pharrell telling the crowd that MySpace is all about "saying fuck you to corporate America." My man, don't you read the business section, or least check out the cover of Wired?