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CONCERT REVIEW

MTV’s TRL Tour Arrives

Complete with Intermittent Ads & Beyonce Knowles

By Sandra M. Chung
ASSOCIATE ARTS EDITOR

MTV’s Total Request Live Tour stopped by the Tweeter Center in Mansfield on August 10. Headlined by Destiny’s Child, the show also featured rappers Nelly and Eve.

Rising bands 3LW and Dream opened the show. Part of the latest infestation of manufactured teeny bopper pop acts, Dream hardly qualifies as a band, since none of its members has any actual musical talent. Their set consisted of well-choreographed dance routines to songs like “He Loves U Not.” Any singing that may have occurred was drowned out by high-pitched shrieks from the audience, mostly preteen and female.

Eve made a blazing entrance in her twenty foot golden Ruff Ryder scorpions in the background. She wore beige tights, an army shirt, and five-inch heels. As she was a bit under the weather, Eve only performed a few songs, highlighting her short set with the radio hit “Let Me Blow Ya Mind.” During “Love Is Blind,” a song about domestic violence. The background dancers pantomimed a couple in an abusive relationship. Songs with similarly meaningful lyrics help make Eve one of the hottest female rap artists out there.

Nelly and the St. Lunatics took the stage next, riding on dirt bikes through clouds of smoke onto a set decorated like a city street. They echoed a theme of ostentatious wealth by changing into different matching outfits for various songs. Nelly highlighted his performance with “Must Be the Money,” during which he and the St. Lunatics threw money at the crowd. Performing amidst sparks and flames with real talent, Nelly was literally and figuratively one of the hottest performances at the concert.

Destiny’s Child, the concert’s headline act, performed with amazing energy and electrified the crowd with a memorable set that lasted for a full hour. They set the tone of the performance with their first piece, blasting on stage with “Independent Women.” Changing outfits and strutting down triplet staircases, the three R&B princesses gave loud, glittery performances of “Jumpin’, Jumpin’,” “Bug-A-Boo,” “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Say My Name,” and “Bootylicious.”

Lead singer Beyonce Knowles belted out earthshaking solos for much longer than any mortal voice could possibly last. Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, and a surprisingly talented guitarist took their turns in the spotlight to slightly less of an effect. Just when it seemed the middle of the set couldn’t drag out any longer, Destiny’s Child donned white gowns and sang an amazing a cappella gospel medley. Then the trio changed into grass skirts for “Survivor,” which was themed as a send-up of the enormously popular reality television series of the same name.

The TRL Tour concert emulated MTV’s television show Total Request Live in several ways. A charismatic emcee (not Carson Daly) introduced showy stage performances which were surprisingly reminiscent of music videos. Between acts, the commercialized nature of the concert was made only more obvious by a large television screen on stage which displayed paid advertisements.

Wading through the MTV schtick to get to the actual music was a frustrating, deafening experience. Though the high-quality music of Destiny’s Child and Nelly nearly made it worth enduring the unbearable screaming of hundreds of young girls, over-the-top sets and effects and over amplification cheapened their performances, eardrums suffered from both audience noise and volume levels set tens of decibels past comfortable levels. Genuine fans of the music would do better to stay at home with a CD and avoid wasting money on the MTV packaging.