Concert review: Black Eyed Peas at Verizon Center
Moments before showtime, the lights dimmed at Washington's Verizon Center and a giant green CGI head appeared on a video screen and sternly announced, "This is the beginning of sound."
Then, the Black Eyed Peas rose from the floor, shrouded in fog and illuminated with green laser spotlights, and launched into "Let's Get it Started."
What followed was more spectacle than show -- a dizzying digital love fest, where singer Fergie and rappers Will.i.a.m, apl.de.ap and Taboo strutted around the stage in sparkle-tastic outfits and toured through their hits ...
Behind them, screens flashed images of circuit boards, outer space and people talking on their cell phones, while back-up dancers preened and posed in outrageous get-ups. Fergie emerged in a shiny metallic dress, looking like a chrome Barbie; Will.i.am and apl.de.ap's suits must have been dipped in a vat of glitter. The glare was intense.
Oh, and there was music, too. The Black Eyed Peas can get a crowd moving when they want to, and there were moments when they shook the nearly sold-out Verizon Center last night.
"Boom Boom Pow" was a hot and heavy Auto-tuned romp, and the distorted surf hooks of "Pump It" got booties shaking. The show's most spontaneous moment came when Will.i.am free styled for a few minutes using text messages audience members sent to the overhead screens before the set.
Fergie can belt it out with the best of them, and she didn't hesitate to prove it on songs like "Big Girls" and "Don't Phunk With My Heart." The five-piece live band was a welcome surprise, though the sound levels -- especially the vocals -- were muddled at times.
Each of the Black Eyed Peas had a solo section in the middle of the show. Apl.de.ap did "Mare," Fergie sang three of her solo tunes and Taboo rode a neon motorcycle suspended above the crowd (it looked like something out of "Tron").
For his solo set, Will.i.am asked the crowd if he could "transform this arena into a night club," and spun a roughly 15-minute DJ set of pop tracks by Michael Jackson, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Journey. This got old really quickly. Sorry, Willi.i.am, but we didn't come to hear you play other people's hits for so long.
The last song of the night, the party anthem "I've Got a Feeling," got the place jumping. Sirens wailed and confetti cannons shot a bazillion brightly colored bits of paper into the air. It was a fitting way to cap a night of eye-popping excess.
Here is the set list:
1. Let's Get It Started
2. Rock Your Body
3. Meet Me Halfway
4. Don't Phunk With My Heart
5. Will.i.am freestyle
6. Imma Be
7. My Humps
8. Missing You
9. Mare (apl.de.ap solo)
10. Taboo solo rap
11. Fergalicious (Fergie solo)
12. Glamorous (Fergie solo with Ludacris)
13. Big Girls Don't Cry (Fergie solo)
14. Will.i.am DJ set
15. Sweet Dreams (instrumental band jam)
16. Now Generation
17. Pump It
18. Where is the Love?
Boom Boom Pow
I've Got a Feeling