A tale of two concerts: Wyclef Jean and Zion I

By Daniel Paiz

Welcome to blog post number two for Cypher Sessions; in this post, we’ll be looking at how two massively popular Hip Hop artists did at the University of Colorado at Boulder (my current school).

We’ll first start off with Wylcef Jean’s hugely extravagant concert that took place at CU-Boulder’s Coors Events Center, a venue that holds anywhere between 9,000 to 11,000 people. Unfortunately, the 4/20 marijuana crackdown that was strictly enforced (and was quite effective) kept concert numbers low.

This is definitely something that can’t be contributed to the school’s most important concert creators, Program Council, as these students worked for months on end, via marketing, advertising, and doing work on a fantastic set-up and lights show. What was interesting about this concert were all the stipulations that were supposed to be enforced with the contract; no mentioning of marijuana, and the fact that music had to be playing at the exact time of 4:20.


It makes sense from a Hip Hop perspective why this concert wasn’t so well attended, as there was quite a bit of stifling of the people’s voice, as well as almost a mandate to “have clean fun” during April 20th.

Wyclef himself said it at the concert, that he “was no sell-out”. This in my opinion is why things didn’t really go so well, and it should be a lession learned by those who made the decision to have the concert in the first place. It was definitely a great experience to have a Hip Hop Legend in Colorado (as we rarely get such opportunities), but next time, it may be more prudent to work and cooperate with other student offices/groups to insure that all involved received the same benefit, and that nobody (like Program Council) faces any negative publicity.

A perfect example of how the low attendance at Wyclef wasn’t Program Council’s fault would be the number of concert goers that attended the first ever Altitude Music Festival. Granted, this isn’t a festival yours truly would normally attend, as I’m not a huge fan of mainstream Electro music, but the allure of a free ticket and a chance to see Zion I (who I had heard such good things about before),  won me over and had me at  the Balch Fieldhouse on April 28th.

Although many concert goers may have said that MSTRKRFT (the festival’s headliners) was the best part of the show, those people unfortunately missed the most energetic and invigorating performance of the night. From start to finish, Zion I put down tracks that had the crowd bending every which way and more importantly, enjoying every twist and turn.

The highlight for this Hip Hop head was the Deejay solo by Amp Live towards the end of the set. He nearly knocked the speakers off their hinges with the deep rattling of hard-hitting bass. It was easily one of the most energizing performances I have seen since I’ve started going to concerts (and I’ve seen Lupe Fiasco twice, and Murs three times; both were bouncing off the walls!).

I think what I’m trying to get at here in this post is that it’s fantastic to see people coming out and supporting really good music (Yes, it’s great to support Hip Hop artists too). Too often people go and see artists that have you thinking you should of listened to Flava Flav when he said don’t believe the hype.

This trend needs to continue, and it needs to happen fast. If there’s a larger demand for good artists at rates that aren’t so exuberant, then the prices will have to come down at some point. Otherwise, AEG/Live Nation and others may have to brainstorm another way to keep people coming to concerts. I for one hope that concerts will increase in quality, as they clearly already have been increasing in quantity. Only time will tell.

Join us for the next Cypher Sessions next week! (Because since Spring semester is over, that means blog posts will be coming out every 4-6 days or so!!!!).



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