J5 and Common at Jenny Craig in SD

Hip-hop hit the scene big on May 1, showcasing two recognized icons, Jurassic 5 and Common, at the University of San Diego in the Jenny Craig Pavilion. A plethora of personalities crowed outside the Jenny Craig venue, as dozens more were turned away at the box office.
Enthusiasts of all kinds crowded the stage with one common interest: Jurassic 5 and Common. Jurassic 5 ran onto the stage filled with energy ready to pump up the audience, a definite accomplishment. It only took one song for the audience to start chanting the words to the songs. Everyone waved their arms from side to side, bobbing their heads to the beat.
The earth shook as Jurassic 5’s set was almost over and the crowd was not ready to let them go. After each song they cheered, screamed and fought to get that one last picture, one last memory of this remarkable set. Their arms, with cell phone cameras in hands, elevated higher and higher in order to avoid taking a picture of the person’s head standing in front of them. Flashes continued to go off even when Jurassic 5 ran off the stage. ‘Thank you San Diego!’ they shouted as they ran off the stage and the echo of their salute faded.
It was a hot, torturous but very worthy 43 minutes before Common graced the stage. He kept the crowd waiting and the initial fight of trying to get closer to the stage was somewhat hectic. People were pushing left and right, some even trying to crawl between people’s legs to get a better view of the empty stage. Some danced in place to the old beats blasting from the speakers, while others struggled to salvage personal space, constantly apologizing to the person in front of them for touching them, or the person in back of them for stepping on their feet. Despite this, no one seemed to mind.
Meanwhile, the Pavilion filled with smoke. The irony of smoking pot at a Christian school did not stop anyone at this concert. Joints, blunts, spliffs, pipes and even a bubbler were all methods employed within 10 feet of me. Clouds towered over the arms that still stood straight in the air with camera phone in hand pointing at the empty stage just anticipating Common to run out onto the stage. For some, the heat and intensity of pot clouds floating above was too much and they were forced to remove themselves from the crowd. For others who could handle it, it was a blessing that meant they could move forward as one of the weaklings moved out.
Slowly, each member of Common’s ensemble walked onstage, lights overhead illuminating their presence with DJ Dummy the last onstage before Common. DJ Dummy spun the record; the crowd went crazy as the vibrant, almost blinding, multicolored lights flashed from stage to crowd. Red, green, yellow, blue, purple, magenta, orange and Common. The highly anticipated artist sang with all his might. Camera, hands, blunts and screams rose to the ceiling. ‘Everybody say yeah!’ Common rhythmically insisted. The crowd followed the direction, hollering with as loudly as it could.
Having seen Common’s performance Saturday, April 29 at Coachella Music Festival, I was disappointed to see that a great majority of his set mirrored the performance he gave at Coachella. Some skits between songs were even identical. Nevertheless, Common’s set at the University of San Diego was thrilling and captivating.
Common danced on stage to R. Kelly’s ‘Bump and Grind,’ while Vanessa, a girl from the crowd who would be the envy of all of the other girls at the show, got onstage. Common began to dance with Vanessa, but she decided to take matters into her own hands. She jumped onto Common and startled him, waving one hand in the air with the other securely locked on his shoulder. She grinded away, waving her legs out into the air like she was riding a mechanical bull. The crowd went crazy.
As another crowd-pleasing stunt, Common asked if there were any emcees in the house. One bold young San Diegan jumped onstage, not expecting to get completely clowned by Common in a freestyle battle. Later in the set, Common apologized to the guy and recognized his bravery for getting onstage, embarrassing himself and then telling his girlfriend in the crowd that he loved her in front of an enormous audience.
Common played for two loud and energized hours. DJ Dummy had his own time to show off his skill where he spun the records so fast his hands were almost invisible. He spun around while spinning and scratching and even scratched with his chin. Common ended his set with an encore. They played ‘The Light,’ a classic everyone went crazy for and in unison sang, ‘I never knew a luh, luh-luh, a love like this,’ a perfect ending to an amazing show.