For a night, at least, Intrust Bank Arena transformed into something it hasn’t been in its five-year history.
It turned into a nightclub, and the entire place vibrated. The floors, the metal rails, everything.
About 6,000 people crammed into the reserved seats and general admission area in the lower bowl Thursday night for the Power House Jam, sponsored by Power 93.5-FM.
The crowd mostly consisted of people under age 40, and in a possible first in the arena’s history no cowboy hats were seen.
Never miss a local story.
The radio station had stands set up around the arena giving away free tie-dyed T-shirts that read “I made history,” referencing the fact this was the first hip-hop concert the arena has hosted.
“I was thinking of what to say in my dressing room before I came out here, and I could think of was ‘We started from the bottom, now we’re here,’” said the station’s personality, Hitman, who emceed the evening. “We’re making history here – the first of many (hip-hop concerts) to come here at Intrust Bank Arena.”
The bottom bowl was mostly full by Trey Songz’ set, second-from-last in the lineup.
The whole concept of “reserved seats” was moot at this concert, as everyone stood up for almost every song anyway. And they not only stood, but also danced.
And it’s not enough simply to dance to the music – at one point, four different people were Snapchat videoing themselves doing just that at the same time.
Rows and rows of speakers hung from the stage, so as to provide the maximum amount of bass, and it did not go unnoticed.
Workers at the arena said their offices were shaking as the show did sound checks earlier in the day. You just don’t get that with an Eagles concert.
And another concert first: Kansas City-based rapper Tech N9ne made a “surprise” appearance before Trey Songz came out.
The story the crowd was told: N9ne texted Hitman at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, letting him know that he was in town and was interested in appearing onstage.
“I came here on my off day to hang out with you … watch Trey Songz and Lil Wayne,” N9ne told the crowd.
Most of the acts toward the beginning of the set – up-and-coming talents such as Ty Dolla Sign, Kid Ink, and Fetty Wap – were forgettable once the big boys came out to play. Ink, however, was particularly endearing.
Midway through his set, he ran out into the crowd to touch and be touched by fans, a few of whom he directly addressed.
Songz was an undeniable highlight of the concert. He came with his own live band – a drummer, guitarist, bassist, and two synthesizers – which automatically put him head and shoulders above everyone else who had performed prior.
There was still ample bass coming from the subwoofers, but it felt much less like a karaoke session, and much more like a showcase of Songz’ talent. He didn’t need constant pleas of “Get your hands up” to draw the audience into his set.
Lil Wayne, the show’s headliner, came on about 40 minutes after scheduled.
Hailed as “the best rapper alive,” Wayne came out in an all-white getup, performing his hit “John.”
“Before I go any further, I must tell you to make some noise … because you’re beautiful,” he said. “I appreciate every single one of you. … Make some noise for yourself because you’re beautiful.
“I didn’t come here to talk. I came here to turn this … up, so if you’re a Lil Wayne fan, let’s go.”
And for once, he didn’t have to ask for the attendees to put their hands up. They were all up already.