A young, diverse crowd of hip-hop fans from all over Maine and New England poured into Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion Tuesday night, as the America’s Most Wanted tour rolled into town, bringing with it rap superstars T.I. and Lil Wayne. A little rain at the beginning of the show didn’t deter between 6,000 and 7,000 concert-goers, mostly in their teens and twenties, from bobbing their heads and waving their arms.
“I’m a big fan and I have been for a long time. I heard him probably in middle school, so that was six, seven years ago,” said Ashley Sidney, a 19-year-old Orono resident originally from Livermore Falls. “He’s pretty amazing. I was so excited when I heard he was coming.”
T.I. started the night, playing a mixture of his hits like “Whatever You Like,” “Bring It Out,” and part of current number one Billboard hit “Blurred Lines,” his collaboration with Robin Thicke. Lil Wayne is a rapper with passionate fans and a history of hip-hop success over the past 15 years, as well as numerous run-ins with the law that have only added to his mystique. He took the stage around 8 p.m. with a set that included skateboarders jumping off ramps, and played hits from his multi-platinum albums including “Tha Carter,” “I Am Not A Human Being” and “Tha Carter III,” which was the top-selling album of 2008.
Maria Miranda and her sons, Darius, 4, and Jordan, 9, didn’t have tickets, but happened to obtain some by a stroke of good luck.
“We were standing on the fence outside trying to peek in, and this guy walked up to us and said he was one of T.I’s people, and he gave us tickets so we could all get in,” said Miranda. “It was pretty unexpected and totally awesome. I went to Lynyrd Skynyrd, but this is their first concert ever.”
The Tuesday night show came on the heels of a week of intense public scrutiny regarding the noise from the Waterfront Concert series in nearby neighborhoods. An open session at the Monday night Bangor City Council meeting brought more than 35 Bangor residents, some of whom spoke in support of the concerts, others who said the intense bass and loud noise had negatively affected their quality of life.
The general attitude of the thousands of concertgoers at Tuesday’s show, unsurprisingly, seemed resoundingly in favor of the Waterfront Concerts.
Stephanie Hatch, 21, of Bangor knew she wanted to see Lil Wayne as soon as she heard he was coming to town.
“He’s a huge, huge rapper and you wouldn’t think someone like that would be in Bangor,” said Hatch. “I think it’s kind of dumb that people are complaining about the noise. This brings in a lot of money for the city. It makes this place a lot more appealing. If you want this place to improve, you should probably stop complaining. You aren’t helping.”
Siblings Abby and Alex Chadbourne, 14 and 16, of Bucksport, were attending their first Waterfront Concert. Alex couldn’t contain his excitement at seeing one of his favorite artists live.
“Yeah, I’m a giant fan. This is definitely amazing,” he said. “This is my first concert ever and I can’t believe it.”
His sister thinks most of the complaining has to do with the genre of music, rather than the actual noise.
“I think that they are only mad about one genre of music. I think it’s good,” she said. “I mean, it’s a concert. Of course it’s going to be loud.”