By Jack Rico
This past weekend the renowned beer company Budweiser had their “Made In America” summer concert series kick off in New York City. The concert was presented in two different locations – Liberty Island and Governor’s Island . The opening acts of up-and-coming Indie pop sensation “Misterwives,” the electronic music duo “Big Gigantic” and the world renowned “T-Pain” would perform in specially prepared sector of Governor’s Island. While the headliner of the night Mary J. Blige would perform live from Liberty Island. But if you were in Governor’s Island and wanted to see Mary J. Blige, there was no need to jump in the ferry as Budweiser prepared a hologram production of her performance to be played live in Governor’s Island.
So, of course, the music fans that we are in ShowBizCafe.com, we hopped on the Ferry and off the Governor’s Island we went. First, it was a surprise how not so many people knew about the event, given the fact that it was 100% free admission. All anyone had to do was show up, have a valid 21+ ID card and Budweiser gave you a wristband for six free beers and 1 meal, mostly chicken and fries. So given all the beer drinkers in NYC we thought more people would show up.
Everything was going well, Misterwives were opening the concert and people were getting into it. At around 7PM we decide to get some food and a few beers to get us through the rest of the concert without the stomach rumbling. When we get to the stand, the Budweiser staff tells us that food and beer was no longer free and it was changed to two dollars a can and 4 dollars a meal, cash only. This didn’t just catch us off guard, but the 30 people waiting behind us as well; most of them didn’t even have cash and only brought their IDs because it was announce that food and beverages would be free. We were never able to find out why the change was made, but we do know that a lot of people were very upset; some actually left the island to go eat somewhere.
Nonetheless, that mishap was not going to fully change the mood of most of the people attending the concert. Given the fact that it wasn’t as packed as we imagined, plus the people that left early, it gave us a lot of freedom to roam around and check out the concert better, there was so much room that no one was worried about bumping into anyone else. This gave us an opportunity to really listen to the music, which I think was fabulous. Misterwives’ amazing rhythm of funky pop with alternative dance really made everyone there get more into the atmosphere of a party. Even more so with the huge vocal talent of their petite lead singer Amanda Lee Duffy, who even when the rain was falling, kept the audience’s energy on a high.
Big Gigantic came up next and if there was even an earthquake in Governor’s island, it was because of the music these two were playing. The people were moving, jumping and sawing to the addictive beat from the electronic music, mixed with the jazz feel of Dominic Lalli and his saxophone, while Jeremy Salken created a sensational beat in the drums. As they were playing it was as if the audience was being hypnotized by the spine tingling rhythm. These two boys really left their mark; Budweiser did very well on having their talents on stage.
When Big Gigantic was done, the sky was starting to get dark and the mood of the atmosphere seemed to get a bit somber. But then T-Pain jumped into stage and it was an explosion of absolute energy. This man is the type of artist that is better live than in a record. He had people jumping, dancing and singing along to his hits like: ‘I’m Sprung,’ ‘Bartender,’ ‘Chopped & Screwed’ and many others. His performance put an exclamation mark in the event especially for those of us that were in Governor’s Island, because in Liberty Island they only had one performance and it was the one everyone wanted to see, Mary J. Blige.
Before I get to Mary J. Blige’s performance. I think I must explain how the hologram works. The fellows at Budweiser installed next to the stage, a long rectangular pool with a huge pipe in the middle sticking out of the water. The idea was that the pipe would shoot water up into the air creating a screen in which a projector would shoot out a live feed of the concert in Liberty Island, that is essentially the hologram. Now, as soon as T-Pain finished his set a stream of misty water shot up about 15 feet into the air from the pool and the screen was set. The projector started sending the image while the speakers played the music live from Liberty Island. It all seemed to be going according to plan, but there was a detail that wasn’t put into consideration, the wind. The wind in the area had been so strong throughout the day that when the water was being sprayed, the wind would push it somewhere else and there would be no image to anyone to see. It got so bad that they had to turn the water pump off until calmer winds.
Nonetheless, when the wind was cooperative the image was definitely impeccable. I feel like Governor’s Island was even better for the concert, aside from the hologram and food issues. People got to see more performances, spend more time enjoying themselves and if you got sprayed with the water I would count that as not only seeing Mary J. Blige live, but touching her as well. Overall, the “Made In America” concert for Budweiser was interesting, fun and a little crazy. And we all need to have a little craziness in our life every now and then.