Somewhere between Gnarls Barkley and The Lady Killer, I forgot that Cee Lo Green first rose to prominence as a rap artist. He’d become so famous for his singing voice (and more recently, acting as a mentor on The Voice), that it wasn’t until I was watching his free (yes, free) performance at Citywalk’s new 5 Towers outdoor concert venue last night that I remembered his past with Goodie Mob and the rest of Atlanta’s Dungeon Family. Combine the artist’s rapping and crooning skills with his propensity for busting a move on stage, and Citywalk had a serious triple threat on their hands.
The event kicked off with The Voice Season 1 winner Javier Colon literally plugging in the new stage to officially kick off the Plugged In concert series. The translucent towers crackled with bolts of electricity before the venue reached full luminescence, and the crowd erupted in applause and cheers at the spectacle. Flash Mob America then performed a short dance number to Kanye’s “All of the Lights,” getting the crowd pumped up for the headliner himself, Mr. Cee Lo Green.
The light put forth by the multi-million dollar stage setup was put to shame once Cee Lo took the stage. The bright smile that viewers of The Voice have become accustomed to seeing every Tuesday night was simply dazzling in person. I bet you could see that grin from the Jurassic Parking lot! Add to that the diamonds draped over the artist’s every appendage, and I practically had to shield my eyes for fear of scorching my corneas.
Throughout his performance, Cee Lo lived up to his ladies man image. He was flanked by the lovely Wonder Twins who danced across the stage throughout the set and wiped Cee Lo’s brow when the heat of the lights caused him to perspire. One of the Twins was even considerate enough to make sure an eager fan in the audience was able to get his CD signed after the show. As if that wasn’t enough, sexy DJ Rashida was positioned at the rear of the stage, providing the backdrop to Cee Lo’s performance while wearing a pair of diamond-encrusted headphones that had to be worth more than my car.
As much as there was to see during the show, the visuals never overpowered the music. The set included several tracks from Cee Lo’s latest solo album, including the international hits “F*** You” and “Bright Lights, Bigger City,” and rather than allow Cee Lo to sing the controversial song’s chorus himself, DJ Rashida would cut the track before each instance of the f-word and the audience would fill in, prompting more than a few sideways glances from the fathers in the crowd, but hey, this was a Cee Lo Green show. It was destined to push the PG-13 envelope.
Cee Lo also threw in a couple of tracks for the Gnarls Barkley fans—“Smiley Faces” and an echo-laden rendition of “Crazy” that made me fall in love with the song all over again—as well as short covers of The Pussycat Doll’s “Don’t Cha” (which he produced) and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which the genre-bending artist used to close his set. Overall, the performance was a great way to kick things off on the 5 Towers stage and undoubtedly the first of many exciting concerts to come. I just don’t know if any will be able to bring the bling in quite the same way as Cee Lo. Whether you know him as a crooner or a rapper, one thing is for certain: The Lady Killer is a hard act to follow.
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