This past Thursday, #TBT held up to exact meanings on the campus of Bowie State University when the #FanTheFlame homecoming throwback concert took place at the Leonidas S. James Complex.
When we arrived, the doors to the venue had not opened yet, but that didn’t stop the students and alumni alike from coming out. The lines to see Dru Hill, Trina and Backyard Band were long and running down through the yard of the campus…this is the type of fanfare that you want at a concert experience. As soon as the doors opened, the crowd started rushing in to take their rightful spot either directly in front of the stage, or off to the seated areas to the side.
The concert was brought to the campus and produced by Briclyn Entertainment, which is spearheaded and founded by Anshia B. Crooms, a proud Bowie State University alum. Briclyn’s ability to bring a throwback concert to a college campus, whose base demographic were barely even walking when some of the acts were prominent in the music career, showed the true power of how good music will never go out of style.
Mr. Bowie himself, Cool Ant was not only the host of the show, but he was one of the main acts during the comedy portion, which also featured two other comedians, all from Baltimore.
With all jokes aside, literally, it was time to dive straight into the music. Due to a slight scheduling mix up, the headliners of the show, Dru Hill, were now the first acts to take the stage. Upon running up on stage with the same energy that they had in their 20’s, the crowd burst into screams and cheers, but one thing was noticeably different, the “big man” (as they referred to him) Jazz was not with them. Sisqo took a minute out to apologize for his absence, but said that he had gotten injured and was home taking care of that…get well soon Jazz.
That small setback surely did not stop the Dru from giving you a taste of why they ran R&B music back in the late 1990’s. Coming with hit after hit, with such songs as “Tell Me“, “In My Bed“, “Beauty” and everything in between. Not to take away from the dynamics and the performance of the group as a whole, front man Sisqo took to the stage. He let the crowd know that he generally doesn’t perform his solo material at Dru Hill events, but he wanted to remind the young crowd of who he was…and just like that, we entered the dragon. In listening to his back catalog of music, there were some features that I TOTALLY forgot that he sang on, but used to be my jam back in the day.
To my surprise, everybody in the crowd kept screaming for him to perform his hit, “Thong Song“, and I didn’t even think that these kids remembered the song, but they knew every word. Maybe these youngin’s today DO know a thing or two about good music.
DC’s own legendary “Backyard Band” followed, bringing the local go-go flavor to the show. Granted most people in the audience were WAY too you to have been to a gogo back in the day, everyone was more than familiar with their re-worked version of Adele’s “Hello”, which in its extended form, lasted over 7 minutes, but still held the audience captive the entire time.
The last and final act of the night was the BADDEST Bitch, Ms. Trina. According to the student run CAB organization, they had to fight their administration HARD to get the Diamond Princess on tap for this show, and well, it looks like they had a big win.
Of all the years that Trina has been out on the music scene, this was the first time experiencing her live, and she brought the Miami heat with her. It’s not often that you see a female rap act with dancers, but oh yes…there were dancers. The DMV’s own Model’s Inc served as her stage support and they didn’t disappoint. We all know that Trina’s lyrics come with a particularly sexually charged punched, and every move that the dancers made was totally inline.
Her entire set lasted about 30 minutes, but it honestly seemed faster than that as she quickly progressed through song after song. This whole theme of #TBT hit home for me even more so when she began performing her 2000 track “Pull Over”. I vividly remember being a college freshman when this song came out, and they played this at literally EVERY school party, and here it was that many years later, I find myself in the midst of a college gymnasium, among many Bowie State freshman who were experiencing their first college homecoming.
Before she left the stage, she told the DJ to drop the beat, and her very first introduction to the music industry played, Trick Daddy’s “Nann“. Overall this concert was a success, and granted I was there in a working capacity, it certainly was a good time for me.
May this be a template for other college campuses to adopt when planning homecoming concerts. Sure, you must have a show for the current college kids (which took place the next night), but you’ve got to keep it real, homecoming is TRULY for the alumni coming back home, and they want some entertainment that’s going to speak to them, and make them remember THEIR time back on the yard.