I’m cocky on the mic but I’m humble in real life
Taking nothin’ for granted blessin e’rything on my life

Nelly, #1 – Country Grammar

November 18, 2002. Monday

Meanwhile, Nelly continues to evidence a humility that’s refreshingly at odds with the prevailing hip-hop ethos. Reflecting on his success thus far, he told Wall of Sound, “It feels good. I appreciate it, but we’re still working hard, and hopefully this is just the beginning. The good thing is that people are excited now; they’re starting to believe they can make it up out of here. It’s all about the love now.

I believe, having heard plenty of the guy on the radio and TV that this is true, which in itself is the greatest compliment an artist can receive in my opinion. His humility is self-evident in every aspect of his life except his lyrics which are carefully designed to give the most broad appeal possible without either losing touch with his roots, or alienating those who believe that talent is what makes records, not attitude.

But that is all conjecture, the question is, what makes people go to see this guy live? Well, if you have a plan like Nicole did, everyone should participate at least once.

We left work at 4ish as usual, but rather than heading home we set our sights on the Goodwill store at Lawrence and Warden with the notion that in order to appreciate fully the evening, we should do what we could to fit in and become a part of the supporting masses. After some careful and entertaining searches, I came up with a pair of huge brown canvas pants (farmer style) and an old bright red Tommy Hilfiger Shirt that somehow managed to be long enough to reach the waistline of my pants which was wrapped snugly around my “hips”. I was unable to find a hat, a little wool beanie or something, but even so, I believe I looked like I belonged with the throngs of screaming teenagers that wandered around outside the ACC waiting to catch a glimpse of the famous St. Louis native and his bandaid. To backtrack a little, I had a little fun during the day with the whole bandaid face thing, and below are the fruits of that hilarity:

Yes, they are the Nelly Cats…

In case you are wondering what the heck all this means… Check it out:

Apparently (and there are conflicting stories about this) he has a friend in jail and the bandaid is supposedly staying there until he is released. There are other stories about him having been hit in the face while playing ball, but that somehow doesn’t ring true to me. Also, recently a certain “women’s group” petitioned him to take it off since they were offended by it’s meaning. My thought is that the jail story certainly has more offensive potential than an athletic injury so my money is on that for the time being.

Meanwhile, back at Goodwill, Nicole found a pair of Adidas tearaways and a funky yellow flowered shirt to wear and decided to top off her outfit she was going to require some footwear:

So we visited our friends at Foot Locker in The Eaton Centre (who had previously managed to grab a jacket Nicole wanted out of the grasp of their inventory team) and minutes later were scarfing down cheeseburgers at McDonalds laughing at each other at how bizarre the evening was going to be. Once fed and happy, we walked south to the ACC where we were met by the previously mentioned teenage hoards all apparently just as excited to be out on a Monday as they were to see the show. The entrances were jammed with people, except for the ones not near Yonge and Front Streets which were completely empty, I guess they weren’t handing out common sense popsicles on the Go Train that evening… So we made our way to our seats, pretty good ones, a great view of the big screen and right across from what would be Centre Ice. It wasn’t my first visit to ACC, but it was the first time I had been to a concert and the sound quality was surprisingly good. This in comparison to the SkyTent at Skydome which has the acoustical characteristics of my underwear, muffled and rather restricted in size.

The concert itself was great, although only 75 minutes and frankly more of a one man show than a group effort the familiar songs were there and also the introduction of the new single “Air Force One” which included a huge flying sneaker that went from mid-crowd to the stage and back with one of the crew on board. The band did not lack stage presence, they managed to keep everyone entertained and on their feet for most of the show, except for the pot smoking few bwhind us who were very quietly sitting after the 5th song, no doubt planning a trip to the concession stand once they were able to walk again.

All in all, a very enjoyable night, enhanced magnificently by the idea of getting all dressed up like the Urban media would have us believe is cool and letting go, if only for a few hours, of the man I am and getting in touch with the Hip Hop Gangsta that lives inside us all.