Since I’ve heard Wale’s new Shine album I knew that I wanted to see him perform it for it is after all my favorite album of his since his first which was Attention Deficit. I saw where he posted tour dates online but initially didn’t see DC on the list. I thought, “Ain’t no way he’s gonna tour and not come here” after all this is his city. Then I started hearing on Instagram that he was coming to DC but was like, ” Where, I don’t see it?” Finally after Googling I realized he was coming as a part of WPGC 95.5 Birthday Bash that they throw every year. I knew I had to get my ticket and got it early which was good because they sold out.
So yesterday was the night of Birthday Bash and it was located at the Howard Theatre. Doors were set to open at 6pm and the show was scheduled to go until 11pm. I can’t say for certain what times doors actually opened because I didn’t get there until about 8:30pm. Now I don’t get off work until 7pm so I knew I would be late but there was one issue I had to work out and that was parking. I had my car so it just made since to drive and hope that I would find a space (thinking maybe a lot of people will take metro). Well it was on a Wednesday (weekday) and a lot of people decided to drive as I couldn’t find a parking space anywhere. I had to end up parking near the convention center and hoping on the metro (luckily it was just one stop away-this will be relevant later).
Upon arrival one thing I can say is I’ve never walked into the Howard Theatre so quickly for a show. I was expecting there to still be a line outside even though they had been open for a while but there was no wait and they easily checked my ID and scanned my ticket; I was impressed. Now the task of finding my standing spot which as of course any seats that were there were long gone by now. I opted to go upstairs and maybe try my luck over in the corner by the stage but when I went I couldn’t get over there. As I glanced downstairs I figured I’m just gonna have to stand and if I’m going to stand it’s going to be downstairs where I can be closer to the stage.
I head back downstairs and as I’m making my way through people a man comes through telling people to please move as he’s carrying a woman who looks totally out of it (poor thing, the night has just begun). As I’m back by the bar with the majority of the people I squeeze through to see what space is available on the floor and to my surprise there was a lot of space, everyone just wanted to be by the bar. Fine by me as I made my way close enough to the front where I didn’t even think I’d get the chance to be. I settle myself in a corner by the wall in case I need to lean on it a bit and began to enjoy the show. Bibi Bourelly was just finishing up as I arrived but I wanted to know who I missed (I was sure it had to at least have been half of the lineup of people). After checking Twitter it seems as though I had missed Mike D’Angelo, Chris Scholar and Chaz French. Since I had seen Bibi before I wasn’t too disappointed and from what I could see she did well.
Now as I looked at the tv screen flashing with the images of all the artists that were slated to perform tonight I couldn’t help but wonder…here it was 8:30 and there are still five artists that needed to perform before Wale…hmm it’s not looking like it’s going to end on time or some people’s sets are going to get cut short (but how unfair). Next to hit the stage was Chris Young (whom I have to admit have never heard of ) and he performed a lot (I mean a lot) of songs. I kept looking at my watch like ok, how many more people do we have? Lady charmer as he sang a lot of song dedicated to the ladies. Next came Khalid who seems to be a big deal. I remember hearing his album on Spotify but nothing honestly grabbed my attention. He did a great job performing though and has such a strong and mature voice for a 19 year old. I could see him having a long-standing career.
After him was DJ Luke Nasty whom I really just wanted to hear On the Way as that is my jam (after I shazamed it in a store one day). Some of the other songs he did I had heard of before but just didn’t realize it was him. As I’m enjoying the show this group of ladies (actually it looked like a mom and 4 girls around the ages of 18-24) appeared in this room behind me with a seat and all (I didn’t know it was there and will have to figure out how to get access to that). I kept telling the mom who had already went on. I found a couple of things interesting though, the in-between music as we waited they played some of the same songs which irritates me because there’s so much music that I feel like don’t play the same song twice. I was definitely out of touch with a lot of music they were playing as I had never heard it before and after hearing some of it declared, “This is why I don’t listen to the radio, what the hell is this?” I can’t just hop on a song that everyone likes I have to actually like it. they played Tatted Up though and I was the only one jamming the youngins were quiet because they didn’t know it (don’t know what y’all missing).
It was asked multiple times, “Where my 90’s babies at” and you could see the majority of the crowd raise their hands, psh youngins. They were having fun and that’s all that mattered until suddenly I hear the girl to the left and front of me tell the girl beside me that she would, “Smack the shit out of her.” Now I have no idea what happened but whatever it was it didn’t seem like it was that big of a deal I could already tell that. This mouthy girl had a bit of weight on her as she tried to intimidate the girl that was beside me. She brushed it off and kept doing her as even she claimed it wasn’t that serious. As the night went on though the big girl made comments here and there and I had an inkling that it wasn’t over; it just didn’t seem like she wanted to let it go.
Now Kyle comes out and I have to say it seems like me and him would get along. He has such a bubbly personality and I liked the fact that he incorporated a bit of choreography into his performance with his DJ; it was so cute and refreshing it reminded me of boy bands. By now it’s getting to be about 10:45 and more and more people are leaving including big girl. I wanted to tell ol’ girl next to me to keep her eye on her because she honestly just seemed like a petty bitch wanting to start something. As she and her friend got ready to leave she said something slick and after she got behind ol’ girl must’ve hit her because all of a sudden I feel someone brush up on me and ol’ girl was going for her as her boyfriend (I think) was trying to prevent her from going at her. I think she got her cause big girl was trying to come back at her but the crowd blocked her and security carried her ass right on out. People be killing me, thinking they bad and bold when you the one that has to hurry and leave for whatever reason. Homegirl gets to stay and continue to watch the show.
Anyway Omarion comes out next and sings some of his classic songs and then I got confused for a minute because at some point they began playing other songs while he was out there when I felt like they could’ve been playing more of his hits. If I were an artist that hit a good amount of songs while I’m out there performing (unless it’s a certain song I want to do) I only want to have my hits, that’s not selfish right? Especially if people came to see you, let them hear your stuff. As you can imagine the ladies went crazy and I wish he had done some dance moves and performed Touch (my fav song and video by him). Time was ticking and it was well past 11:30 and the main act Wale had yet to perform. By now I knew that I would in fact miss the last train but thank goodness I didn’t park too far away it would be a walk and I could Lyft or Uber but since I’m frugal I’ll just enjoy the walk when it’s time to go. After all the main reason I came was to see Wale and I’d be damned if I leave before getting my full money’s worth.
Not going to lie though I was exhausted and stood against the wall among a slew of other guys just waiting for the rest of the show. Wale finally comes out and sings some songs from Shine as well as a few popular other hits. At a couple different points he goes out into to audience. While doing his new stuff I look around and it seemed as though a lot of people didn’t really know it (I’m like c’mon though this album is like that). I was just surprised I thought a lot more people would’ve liked it/known it. Either way I had fun singing along to Scarface, Rozay, Gotti, strutting to Fashion Week (yes I actually did do this) and I wish I could’ve heard Fine Girl (probably would’ve twerked to that). He had an emotional moment at one point noting that he grew up listening to WPGC and used to live close to where we were and how he was just grateful. Freaked out about his music a little bit and was like fuck cutting his set this was his city so he has to show out and do what he came to do. He told the Howard Theatre he would pay the overtime bill because he indeed went overtime.
I’m used to getting out of shows maybe 11:30pm at the latest but as we wrapped up the night and I looked at my watch it was 12:31am. After walking to my car by the time I reached my car it was 1:09am. By the time I got home it was 1:40am. I usually do my IG posts right afterwards and actually tried to go live during a performance but connection was bad (whomp whomp) so I posted on IG early on Thursday. It was an experience and although they were sold out they never really looked sold out the entire time I was there there was always space to move around.
Stay tuned because my next show is in August which will be Joey Bada$$ and Logic.