Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals
The Riv // Chicago, IL // February 16, 2019
This tour is going to be hard to beat.
Here’s something you may not know: photographers are only allowed to shoot the first three songs of a show. Every once in a while, we get an extra song or two, but it’s almost always the first three, then we have to leave the photo pit and head to the back of the venue. Anderson .Paak allowed photographers to stay for four songs, which was amazing, but it’s still a very short time frame. All that being said, it takes a lot for me to stop shooting and just watch the artist. During the fourth song of his set, “Milk n’ Honey”, I couldn’t help myself. I put my camera down for a bit, sat down on the metal barricade, and just watched.
Fresh off his very first Grammy win, .Paak came onstage in Chicago with a huge smile on his face and sat down to the drums. His band, the Free Nationals, are incredible in their own right and never felt like a backing band. He started off the night with “The Chase”, a track from his newest album, Oxnard. While the album features some incredible hip hop tracks, .Paak’s funk and soul melodies are in a league of their own. Think George Clinton and Sam Cooke set to intelligent and catchy rap lyrics, and you’ve got Oxnard. After jamming out on the drums behind a screen and projector, .Paak came to the front of the stage and flawlessly belted out “Who R U?”, one of my personal favorites. Yes, .Paak can dance, and yes, .Paak can rap, but his charisma and emotional energy takes him from a performer to a star.
“I told y’all I’d be back, Chicago”, .Paak said, then proudly added “Betcha didn’t think I’d be comin’ back with a Grammy!” The crowd erupted, and the grin on .Paak’s face said it all. He is a true musician, able to play any size venue and have the entire crowd hanging on his every word, while still maintaining his humility and appreciation for his fans. It’s going to be really hard to top this show in 2019, and we’ve still got 10 months to go.
Anderson .Paak is currently on tour and is headed to Europe in just a few weeks. For tour dates and tickets, click HERE.