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Wiz Khalifa and the Taylor Gang came to the Sacramento Sleep Train Arena, Sunday, Nov. 11.
This concert took a turn for the interesting before I had even left the stadium parking lot. Several of its participants were already drunk or smoking the band’s preferred choice: weed. Many car alarms went off as some people stumbled into the arena to watch the artists that made up the Taylor Gang and the headliner Wiz Khalifa.
Once inside the arena it became quickly obvious that this was not a family outing. The outfits ranged from interesting in color to scantily clad. But as Wiz said when he first took to the stage, “We are all about creating an environment where you feel free to be yourself. Drink what you want, smoke what you want and be you.” And the crowd did.
The Taylor Gang consists of Berner, Lola Monroe, Chevy Woods and Juicy J. Berner was the first to hit the stage. While he had a good beat and carried his timing well, the real show didn’t start until Monroe came on stage. She rapped new songs from her upcoming CD, “Lipstick & Pistols.” Woods followed her performance before introducing Juicy J.
Juicy J is the ultimate performer. He utilized everything from the props on the stage, to the lighting effects, to his own charismatic personality. At one point even I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what he would do next. For one of his songs, he invited 300 ladies in the crowd to come up on stage and dance with him. This ended up being the most entertaining part of the night.
Then Juicy J did something he swore he had never done at a concert: he invited a guy up to his stage. This ended up being a 14-year-old kid who looked like he won the lottery. Juicy J encouraged the girls on stage to make this “a night he would never forget.”
By the time Wiz Khalifa had taken the stage, I had lost count of how many times all the performers had asked the crowd, “Who is smoking the good weed?” Needless to say, the arena had become hazy with smoke and glowed with light from hundreds of lighters. Center stage to Wiz was a larger-than-life statue of a bong that occasionally had steam (at least I hope that’s what it was) coming from it.
Wiz rapped songs that had mostly not been heard before. He has a new album coming out Dec. 4, and he was taking his material from that. There was a great moment in the night when all the members of the Taylor Gang came out on stage with Wiz, and he not only rapped with them, but also gave each a personal shoutout to the crowd.
The night was memorable, down to the stage dancers who were dressed as a lighter and blunt. The greatest thing I can say, though, about the music is that there was a sense of family with this group; all for one, and we look out for each other. Each took time to promote the other. And they all flowed so seamlessly together as if they had been working with each other for multiple years.
While they all had great timing in their raps, it really comes down to the group dynamic. I think this is what made this concert so special. And I think this is what is going to keep them around and at the top of charts for a while.