A jammin’ Garden party from start to finish
In a reliable bit of commercially thematic resonance, radio station festivals usually play out with the same ephemeral shelf life of their lightning-quick playlist rotations. So it went last night at JAM’N 94.5’s Monster Jam at the TD Garden. Performers are ushered in and out of the spotlight at such a blistering pace, both on stage and on the dial, the head spins.
Even memorably sticky songs like R&B belter Shontelle’s “Impossible’’ don’t stand a chance in the deluge. Pity the concert-goer who decided to run to the restroom between acts; she may have missed her favorite singer’s entire 10-minute set. “I know you all know this song,’’ Shontelle said, an understatement, to say the least.
That powerfully sung number lingered in the memory near the end of The New Boyz’ jerky, bass-pounding set until the hip-hop duo ran through their own crowd-pleaser, “Tie Me Down.’’ Soon afterward, Drake’s imminent approach returned the mind-erasing favor. That’s no condemnation of the songs — all of the wares on sale here are hits for a reason — it’s simply emblematic of the eternal sunshine of the spotless pop fan mind.
“No matter what you say on stage, the audience cheers’’ a radio station hype-man joked, introducing Drake. Another understatement. The Canadian actor-cum-rapper earned his massive response with a string of pop hits girded by a live rock band. “Last name ever, first name greatest,’’ he rapped on the boastful “Forever.’’ Overstatement finally.
By comparison, the party-starting braggadocio of elder statesman Nelly seemed downright venerable, even if he did have the audacity to play unfamiliar new songs. Poor Nicki Minaj flirted and spit through favorites like the romantic “Your Love’’ before going over her allotted time and having her mic cut mid-song. At that pitiless rate, the tasting platter of contemporary pop was over before one knew it.
Maybe that approach isn’t so bad. Most of the 14,000 strong had school in the morning, after all. Luke O’Neil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.