From strobe lights and backup dancers dressed as speakers to confetti machines spewing to the beat of “I Gotta Feeling,” the Black Eyed Peas pulled out all the stops at 1st Mariner Arena Tuesday night.
Will.i.am. led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to sound engineer Dave Hayes, who graduated from Loyola University and who’s been with the band since it got its start fifteen years ago. The Black Eyed Peas have garnered a massive following of fans young and old since then, and everyone was having the time of their lives.
After the show, we headed to the exclusive Bacardi after-party at Mist in Power Plant. We were escorted to the media VIP area where attendees could sit on couches splayed throughout the room. At the open bar, we sampled the official drink of the E.N.D. tour, a (strong) Bacardi and cola, and grabbed a seat amid vibrant lights and multiple screens projecting images of the Black Eyed Peas. As we sipped our drinks, we noticed men buying excessive rounds of drinks—funny how the phrase, “next one’s on me” kind of loses its value when the drinks are free.
We headed to the dance floor and found that band members Taboo, will.i.am., apl.de.ap, and even T-Pain—who opened for the Peas—had hit the after-party and were DJing the scene amid fans and fishnet-clad Bacardi girls. Bumping speakers played the whole run of Black Eyed Peas hits and a variety of other hip-hop and pop jams. During the show, will.i.am. also DJed a variety of classic hits such as “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Thriller,” so there were also a number of crowd-pleasing singalongs mixed in.
The uber-VIP area where band members and their acquaintances were hanging out featured a massage area and exclusive iced bottles of Bacardi at the tables. There were also the usual droves of fans (mostly ladies) backed up against the VIP barrier hoping the bouncer would give them just that one minute to sneak in to grab a photo or share a drink with the band. The raucous crowd partied until past 2 a.m. despite Fergie’s noted absence from the excitement. My star-struck plus-one, Lucy, even managed to snag a hug from will.i.am. She figures they’re best friends now.