Top Story, On Campus, Arts

T-Pain Delivers Lackluster Marathon Monday Performance

Boston College students woke up bright and early Monday morning to celebrate the 128th Boston Marathon. Dressed in their most fun and funky outfits, students started filling the Mod Lot as early as 8:30 a.m. in anticipation of T-Pain’s performance for the annual Mile 21 Concert.

Monday’s performance marked T-Pain’s second visit to Chestnut Hill after he headlined 2016’s Modstock. While his 2016 performance on the Heights was affected by poor weather, this Monday’s set was affected by a lack of stage presence and repeated stoppages.

The sold-out show gathered hundreds of students who waited for the headliner to arrive. Frank White, a Boston-based traveling DJ, kept the crowd entertained with snippets of hits by Drake, Taylor Swift, and, of course, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers.

Although T-Pain arrived on stage 35 minutes after the scheduled start time, BC students were still brimming with excitement when T-Pain took the stage while an alien-themed introductory video played on the stage’s background screen. 

The versatile artist sang many of his biggest hits from his nearly 20-year-long career, which the crowd welcomed by dancing and singing along. The vast majority of his songs, however, were met with an almost eerie silence from students unaware of the words.

T-Pain opened the show with an energetic performance of his 2014 hit “Up Down (Do This All Day),” but the crowd’s tame reaction signaled an attitude of indifference toward the song. His feature on Kanye West’s “Good Life” momentarily got the crowd going, with students climbing on each other’s shoulders to try and get a glimpse of T-Pain dancing across the stage.

T-Pain continued the performance with songs like “Booty Wurk (One Cheek at a Time)” and “I’m Sprung,” but it wasn’t until he dipped into LMFAO’s discography to perform their song “Shots,” featuring Lil Jon, that the crowd got going again.

Starting with “Bartender,” the artist then went on a solid run of songs while he broke out a variety of dance moves that had the crowd bursting with enthusiasm.

“I feel like I ran the marathon,” T-Pain said during a break between songs. 

He later performed his and Flo Rida’s song “Low” before performing his most-streamed song on Spotify, “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’).” 

Afterward, the screen once again displayed a video for the frantic crowd. This time, it showed images of warfare as a booming voice rang out over the Mod Lot commanding the crowd to represent where they were from, while T-Pain jumped into a performance of DJ Khaled’s “Welcome To My Hood.” The strange video board and the choice to play a relatively unpopular T-Pain song—shown by its just 22 million streams on Spotify—left the crowd more confused than excited.

The artist then took an unexpected break as he dealt with an issue with his contact lenses. During the pause, T-Pain engaged with the audience through conversation and jokes—arguably the highlight of an otherwise underwhelming morning.

“Y’all probably like, ‘T-Pain is high as f—k,’” he joked. “I’m not high, I just can’t see.” 

He rebounded easily from the break as he performed DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” while images of him winning awards—such as his 2008 Grammy Award for Best Rap Song and 2008 BET Award for Best Collaboration—flashed in the background.  

Overall, the performance lacked many of the guest appearances, audience interactions, and theatrics of last year’s show, resulting in a Marathon Monday concert that incited more apathy than energy. 

April 17, 2024