Suit & Tie Review

Before Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake, I had never seen a show at B.C. place. When I arrived to my first stadium show, I was told by the first security guard I was to be on the floor, I didn’t believe them as I walked down to the second floor to ask for directions, again, I was sent down to the floor. I didn’t believe it until I was sitting in the B section, looking at a very intricately designed stage. I was surrounded by thousands of seats, the blue sky visible through the new and improved, tax paid roof of the heart of B.C. entertainment. The stage was a very vivid blood red, square screens form an optical illusion in the center, instruments from bongo’s to a scarlet piano strategically litter the layers of the stage. For a moment, I was so interested in trying to figure out the stage and how it worked that I was forced back into reality by a tap on the shoulder by the woman next to me, looking up from my notebook where I was sketching the optical illusion the blood red walls created. “Are you doing homework?” she asked, her friends laughed.

“Dressed to the tee, they call me Cassidy” DJ Cassidy starts the party off with a mix of dance songs from the last few decades. The songs ranged from Drake to Guns n Roses, but for me, it was when Cassidy played some Notorious B.I.G. that I stood up to show my appreciation by grooving out a bit. DJ Cassidy did a good job setting up, he didn’t even have to ask for a lot of us to just start dancing to the music, at least half of the stadium was on their feet. The turn table set-up was actually behind me on the floor so I mostly just got a look from behind but the legs of the table are golden, Victorian style,. The theme of the night seems to be red, as DJ Cassidy was mixing under the red glow of the lights, and above a red carpet. He’s rocking an ivory suit with a white barbershop hat. He keeps the crowd engaged by replacing names of other cities in songs with Van city, but as he gets to hit last few songs he loses a lot of the massive audience when transitioning from dubstep to a very slow beat hip hop song. Everyone was on their feet moments later though, when two figures appeared on the stage on either side. The party has begun.

The blood red walls I had jotted down on my notebook are revealed to be LED screens, as JT and Jay-Z start their set off, they portraying the Magna Carta sculpture scene. Justin Timberlake rocks in a black fedora while Jay-Z lays it down with the New York Nets backwards snapback, proving once again that no matter where you go, “you are what you are playah”. As the show rolls on, both of our proclaimed Legends of the Summer gets their own chance to have the audience sing along to their best and favorite songs. The optical illusion LED screens are like their own performance, showing images that go with songs, from a snake slithering, getting bigger as it crawls from square to square, to water droplets on a puddle for the infamous Justin Timberlake song: “Cry Me A River”, to a blazing fire that was so bright it seemed real for the more recent hit, “99 Problems”.

I wouldn’t say either of our MC’s was more over with the audience, but Jay-Z got us to be louder, that’s for sure. However, watching Justin Timberlake dance around on stage, picking up whatever instrument he see fit from the keyboard to the electric guitar, he was having fun, and showing just how talented he is. JT does not show any more age today than when he was just starting out. If anything he’s just more confident and more talented. Jay-Z should not be sold short either as he strings words together better than a beat poet, dropping lyrics far beyond where my tongue got twisted, true rapid fire lyrics. We throw up an ocean of Rock-A-Fella Diamonds to show our respect for the hip hop god. The dynamic duo before us present us with tremendous range that still feels natural despite drastic changes in the transition from a Jay-Z song, to a Justin Timberlake song. JT, being the more energetic of the two, will run from one end of the stage to the other, making sure nobody is left out. At one point in fact, he danced from one end to the other. Justin Timberlake’s sets felt more like a cabaret feeling, while Jay-Z maintained the hip hop bobbing, and they swapped constantly so it always felt fresh, the set list is a well-planned flow of the new and old hits of the suit and tie rocking masters.

Jay-Z and JT come back together for “New York”, giving me an experience that alone is worth the cost of admission. Justin Timberlake starts singing “New York, New York” on stage right with a spotlight on him, his voice showing no weakness at all from the hour of entertainment beforehand, Justin hit amazing notes as he passionately sings the legendary Frank Sinatra hit. All of a sudden, Jay-Z’s “New York” kicks in, and anyone that had sat down from exhaustion is now on their feet. Rain begins to fall from the sky above the stadium through the open roof as the sun set in Vancouver, our heat wave and flawless month of sun is over, but it doesn’t get to us, this is the peak of the night. Everyone sings the chorus, so loud in fact that Jay-Z could let the audience sing a majority of the song. When Jay-Z finished his dedication to the city that raised him, Justin Timberlake is now on stage left, he finished his with a bang, dragging the last note out longer than any of us.

After singing the recent hit, “Mirrors”, JT stands on center stage, beginning to descend as if part of a magic trick, next to where JT once was is now Jay-Z for his solo time. Using elevated pads for these last transitions was awesome, especially when Jay-Z switched back with Justin saying “Go get ‘em JT” for the song I first thought was performed by a female when I heard it on the radio in high school Spanish, “Bringing Sexy Back”. Now JT got his chance to let the audience sing a majority of one of his songs. People stood on their folding chairs as they belted out how they too were bringing sexy back. For the finale, JT goes down via the elevator pad, while the band continues to jam out to the sexy back beat.

The house is dark, black as the night outside. The band is silent, but the crowd is loud, screaming for more. Lights hit center stage where Jay-Z and JT come down the staircase in the middle in their suits for the song that inspired this spectacular night, “Suit & Tie”. Both are also holding glasses of champagne, however, only JT drinks from his. JT has a dishevelled bowtie with his suit, while Jay-Z continues to rock the bling he is synonymous for. We have reached our last song when Jay-Z dedicated it to Trayvon Martin, the young man who’s tragic story of a hate crime ending his life, proving that racism is still alive in today’s day and age, the song is “Forever Young”. The sea of fans respond with waving cell phones and lighters, lighting the tremendous stadium as if it were daytime, or as most people refer to, the place lit up like a Christmas tree. It’s an amazing experience to be on the floor and look around at the mass of people united in a mutual respect for a worthy cause, great music, and a spectacular night.

The sea of humanity floods out into the streets of downtown Vancouver to join another from the Festival of Lights like a weather system. Despite the fact that I have been on my feet since DJ Cassidy decided to play my favorite song to smoke to, “Juicy”, I am able to weave through people consistently and make it home quite swiftly. The show may be over, but I’m still feeling the effects, running through it all in my head, all the elements that came together so well to create the stadium experience. Everything from the light show and stage design to the summer legends on the stage culminated together for the best show I’ve seen thus far, and my very first stadium show. Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake need to be seen to be fully believed, and they put it all on the floor tonight.

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The PNE Budget

Hey All!

You’re getting two blogs about the PNE today in spirit of it ending soon!

I thought while I was there that I would give myself a low budget and see what we can get for that budget between me and my girlfriend. I’ve grown up believing that the PNE is expensive, and though that is true in some ways, it is an amazing experience to go and it does offer many MANY free things, as well as some cheap food that is probably not the best for you,  but oh well! ‘Tis the season as they say! Besides, how could you NOT eat Mini Donuts and Corn dogs at the PNE.

The Budget: $60

What was purchased:

– 2 Bags of Mini donuts: $5

– 2 Pieces of Fudge: $5

– 2 Smoked beef on a Kaiser bun with 2 medium cokes: $23

– 1 Regular Sized, Iced Tea flavored Lemonade: $6

– 1 Revolation drink: $10.25 (The good thing about this is it comes with free refills all day, and if you come back again, you buy a sticker for free refills all that day too for $5.50. Buy this the second you get to the park! It saves money!)

– 1 Wiggle Chips: $5

– 1 Corn Dog: $5

– A day at the fair with the girl I love: PRICELESS

As you ca see, we were well fed with crap food all day within a $60 budget between two people. That’s $30 each, which is what you end up spending for a dinner out anyways. At least here it was the same price and a great experience all in one. Though the PNE can get costly, I hope I have opened your eyes as to how cheap it can be as well. Now go out there and have fun while you still can!

Top 5 FREE Things To Do At the PNE

Hey everyone! With the PNE wrapping up and the crowds dying down, I figured I would write an article about the top FREE things to do at the PNE. I was just there doing some media coverage, and having a blast a couple days ago, and all I spent money on was food. I will include my budget and what I got in a different blog, but without further adieu, this is: THE TOP 5 FREE THINGS TO DO AT THE PNE!

1. PRESIDENTS CHOICE SUPERDOGS:

If you haven’t seen the Superdogs by now and you’ve been to the PNE before, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. It is good fun for the whole family, with some great crowd interaction, and this year even came with a couple of great messages. The announcers at one point said: “That’s one of the purposes of this show. To show you to play with your dog, take care of your dog, love your dog.” Along with the way they started the show by presenting us with two puppies and telling us (the crowd) that any dog can be a Superdog (we are all super). And the ending to the show was a classic: We are all winners. Anyways, if you have kids, GREAT, take them to the Superdogs, if you have pets at home, the Presidents Choice has a table set up for all your pets needs. But best of all, the show is free, and at the end you can even come down and pet the dogs you spent the whole time watching. I enjoyed this event as a young child, and I enjoy it still as a young adult. Who doesn’t love dogs at least a little bit?

2. ACROBATS SHOW: 

I will admit it, this year was my first year ever watching this event. I wanted to experience everything free this year, and I was completely shocked that I had never seen such a tremendous act before. I won’t ruin ANY of the acts for you here, but you simply must go see it if you haven’t yet. There are many death defying acts, many acts leaving you scratching your head as to how they are able to contort their bodies, and some acts that left ME personally saying: “What the hell is going on here?” I was skeptical if this was an event for kids, as it requires patience for some acts, like the chair stacking, however, kids sat behind me and they were very well behaved. It’s really up to you parents, but do go see this show at some point of your PNE day, you will not regret it. Just don’t take any photos with a flash, that is VERY dangerous for the performers as they need all their focus on what they are doing.

3. STAR TREK THE EXHIBITION

First things first, I will also admit that I am a Treky. I spent most of my time in the line for this watching the Star Trek video provided via overhead televisions, but how could you blame me? It was at the climax! This line up can be quite long, but fear not everyone, once you’re in it, you will find it moves quite fast. Me and my girlfriend were actually surprised at how little time the seemingly endless line took to die down. I believe our wait was about 10 minutes, and the line was about half full when we joined it, so it’s about a maximum of 20 minutes, but boy is it worth it. This exhibit isn’t just for Star Trek fans, but for everyone really. It has SO MAY props, costumes, set pieces, art, etc. that my mind was just blown, I literally could have spent my entire day here if my girlfriend wasn’t with me. On top of everything, you can get your picture taken on all of three set pieces. The captains chair from the original series, the bridge, and the transporter. You’ll be saying “Beam me down Scotty.” right after you say “Fire  photon torpedo’s”. However, ye be warned, the photos are quite costly, and I ultimately couldn’t afford mine sadly, but if I had the money I would have gladly spent it, because how often do you get to sit in the ORIGINAL CAPTAINS CHAR!

4. FREE CONCERT!?!?

That’s right, a FREE concert. The PNE provides a million dollar stage for performers of all genres to play free shows on just for you. How expensive are concert tickets in today’s day and age? Well here, you can sit in the stands and watch a show for free! Check online to see who is playing there when to get your FULL money’s worth, but how amazing is it that such a thing is free at the fair? Sounds very fair if you ask me. 😉

Be sure to show the artists your support, and also show the PNE you appreciate their hard work. Just kick back and relax on the nice grassy area, or the stands provided.

5. MONSTER TRUCKS

Boy I had a hard time deciding number five. It’s hard to decide what the last thing to make the cut is. Ultimately I picked the monster trucks as it was a big part of my PNE experience as a child. Now I know my parents probably just took me to this event to drown out the noise of me constantly chattering, and now I also realize how much of a headache I probably gave them considering now I get a headache from this event every time, but it’s worth it to watch these massive monster trucks defy gravity. But, be warned once again, they are extremely loud! There’s a lot of power packed into one of those suckers. Take your kids as a break from all the headspinning, stomach altering, high flying rides that we all know and love, if for no other reason then to make sure they’re not throwing up in your car.

This has been my top 5 FREE things to do at the PNE. It was really hard to decide a top 5, but I think you’ll find these events are on your top 5 by the end of it as well. You know, people often forget with all the things that cost money there that lots of it is free too, along with what is mentioned above, there’s a Family Feud event, pig races, a petting zoo (with other animals to look at because they’re adorable, or you just don’t see them that often at home), there’s dirt bikes which are also stunning, you can vote for your favorite sand castle which artists have worked long days in the hot sun on, play in an assortment of amazing jungle gyms (only recommended for children, and especially not for people with a history of neck injuries). You can hang out with your favorite radio DJs, take a walk in the fair and see all the products you see on tv and more, and kids can play Beyblades with the YTV crew. But best of all, enjoy the experience, because it only happens once a year.