After releasing Ventura, his second album within a 5-month window, Anderson .Paak and his band, The Free Nationals, set out on the Best Teef In The Game Tour accompanied by Thundercat, Earl Sweatshirt, Noname, and Mac DeMarco for select dates. On Tuesday, May 21st, Anderson .Paak played a sold out show at The Met Philadelphia, performing in support of his most recent release, Ventura.
While the early parts of Anderson .Paak’s career had many false starts, and struggled getting off the ground, the Best Teef In The Game Tour encapsulates how far he’s come as both an artist and performer. Performing in front of a large screen projecting images for each song, an elevated stage standing nearly 10-feet high, lights, and flame machines, Anderson .Paak’s most recent tour puts on full display the artists skill and showmanship in the most grand fashion possible.
Beginning the night, as the lights dimmed and smoked filled the stage, band members got into place, the trumpet of Maurice “Mo Betta” Brown could be heard improvising over Heart Don’t Stand a Chance. To this point, Anderson .Paak wasn’t visible to the audience, though you could hear his drums. As the spotlights hovered over the center of the stage, Anderson .Paak began to appear, rising from within in the stage, being propelled by a toaster lift with his drum set. Once at the apex of the platform, Anderson .Paak let out his signature phrase, “Yes Lawd” to the sound of a roaring crowd. .Paak’s entrance was nothing short of amazing and a marvel to see.
After finishing Heart Don’t Stand a Chance, Anderson .Paak left his drum set, walked down the stairs, and performed Come Down, a high energy fan favorite, as he worked the crowd, running from one end of the stage to the next, and even venturing into the audience. Shortly thereafter, .Paak ran back up the steps to perform King James, an ode to LeBron James’ work in his native Akron, Ohio, and a biting critique of the political moment we are living in, followed by Tints, a mid-tempo, funk tune which features Kendrick Lamar.
Though there were a number of high points throughout the night, a personal favorite was seeing Anderson .Paak perform Reachin’ 2 Much, a song reminiscent of Marvin Gaye’s I Want You era, that features plenty of drum fills, a funky bass line from Kelsey Gonzalez, and tight vocals from Honey .Paak, Anderson .Paak’s background singers, India Shawn and Alayna. And though it was a long shot to happen, it would have been great to hear Anderson .Paak perform Good Heels, which features Philadelphia native, Jazmine Sullivan. But, that’s a minor gripe for an overall incredible night.
Whether performing music from his Hip-Hop duo – NxWorries, or much of the Soul, Rock, Funk tunes composed with his band, The Free Nationals, Anderson .Paak’s versatility as a singer, rapper, drummer, and performer, was on full display the entire night. It was evident that whether you were a fan of Anderson .Paak’s rapping, singing, or musicianship, everyone left happy.
Closing out the night, Anderson .Paak performed a number of encore songs – it seemed like he didn’t want to leave the stage, which was fine with me, honestly – Anderson .Paak performed Dang!, a tribute to his friend and collaborator, the late Mac Miller.