Kendrick Lamar adds pop-up Kunta’s Groove Sessions date to the Observatory OC
When word broke out that the West Coast’s golden boy had added a surprise date at the Observatory OC for the 2015 Kunta’s Groove Sessions tour, it was only a matter of a couple of hours before the show was completely sold out.
Dedicated fans in the Los Angeles and Orange County area who missed the opportunity to purchase tickets in L.A. were wishing upon a star for this to happen and it was granted.
Fans from all neighboring cities were in attendance in Santa Ana, California on this night. Not only was this the first time in two years since the Compton artist made in appearance at the Observatory OC, it was also the last date on the critically acclaimed tour.
The stage held a simplistic theme with the only piece of glamour being a bright vintage neon sign directing “Pimps Only” onto the stage.
The Wesley Theory (band) set itself on-stage and the myriad of phones and screams of excitement began to rise. Kendrick made a smooth entrance as he stepped slowly out and vibed to the bands jazzy introduction.
“We’d like to thank everybody for coming out right now. This is the Kunta Groove Session and you are under my hypnosis all night,” he commenced.
The entire room lit up as Kendrick Lamar graciously made his presence felt. He performed the Grammy nominated To Pimp A Butterfly in just about it’s entirety. “King Kunta” was definitely the crowd favorite as everyone recited line-per-line.
His previous work didn’t go unnoticed with a lot of day-one fans in the building and so he made sure he performed tracks off of his Kendrick Lamar EP, Overly Dedicated, and Section.80.
Fans became ecstatic when “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” came on and he began doing a mini good kid, m.A.A.d city set. Right before performing the hit “Swimming Pools” Kendrick asked if any ladies would like to move out of the middle part of the standing room pit to be safe from the mosh-pit that was about to occur within the next few minutes of the show.
He took a minute to seek out the ladies that raised their hands and had security get them out of the way of the core of action. The relentless “Backseat Freestyle” blasted through the speakers and the entire room jumped into a frenzy.
At one point in unison the crowd began to chant “We gonn’ be alright, We gonn’ be alright…” giving the TDE emcee the indication to proceed with that track. At three pivotal points of the show he performed the track for insisting fans who chanted for encores.
My favorite moment of the night was the beautiful performance of “These Walls.” Personally, I was a bit bummed out that out of all the hit tracks in his catalog which he performed that night he did not do “Poetic Justice” or “The Recipe.” Nonetheless, I walked out of the building with the highest degree of joy.
Prior to closing out the show, Kendrick took a few minutes to give a touching speech to those in attendance. “It’s only right that I come back to this small venue and rock out with my day-motherfuckin’-ones..” he stated as he took the time to express his gratitude.
Just in case you need a reminder, The Observatory OC was one of the first local venues who embraced the Compton artist as he began to embark in his unpredictable journey to becoming a bigger-than-life role in today’s hip hop culture. We witnessed him in our Constellation Room first, not even packing out the entire room during his humble beginnings, to selling out the entire main room a couple years later on New Years Eve.
The Observatory had not seen Kendrick since bringing in the year in 2012. As a result, it was a bittersweet feeling to have him back in the city of Santa Ana at such an intimate venue. Now days, an artist of the stature of that which he was attained would not even acknowledge the Observatory as a possibility for a show if it is evident that he or she can easily sell out a 800,000 room capacity stadium in the blink of an eye and possibly see more profit from it. For this, we remain grateful to see that Kendrick still carries his lovable essence of being a humble human being and ultimately staying true to his love for the music and the message he wants to portray.
My words serve no justice to describing the atmosphere in the building that night. To say the least, and the most, there was an undeniable spiritual form of love in the air.
We left the venue reassured that we would be alright.