See Also: • Wyclef Jean contract with CU confirms $80K fee, plus a look at the performance rider • 4/20 at CU Boulder: Wyclef Jean concert, police crackdown to shrink event? • Wyclef Jean at Coors Event Center on 4/20
From the sounds of it, there are probably more people lingering on the sidewalks surrounding Civic Center park right now than are at the Coors Event Center on the University of Colorado campus for the free Wyclef Jean show. Backbeat's own Nick Callaio is on hand and says there's maybe 400 people in the arena right now. "The crowd looks like a herd of penguins huddled together," he says. "It's almost like a private party with the dude who ran for the president of Haiti."
As you can see, there's a lot of empty seats in the arena, which holds eleven thousand and some change. Not to mention, if the figure that has been floated are accurate in terms of Jean's guarantee (it is, $80K), that's a large sum of money for such a paltry turnout.
"You can tell he's a little irritated by the turn out," Callaio offers. "Before he went on, him and his brother were out on a golf cart trying to recruit people." According to Callaio, despite a clause in his contract that reportedly prohibits him from mentioning marijuana, Jean was freestyling about how the people who put on the show said not to talk about marijuana.
Even though it's a meager crowd, Jean is still giving it all he's got and treating the people to a show, and those who are there seem to be very enthused about the set, which so far has included some Fugees tracks, some Bob Marley covers (appropriately enough), a "Smells Like Teen Spirit" cover into Jackson 5. "He is doing anything to hype the crowd," Callaio reports.
Page down for a full recap of the show, more photos, including a shot shared by Wyclef Jean himself on twitter and a video of Jean's brother smoking up on the quad.
As if 4/20 didn't have already enough controversy surrounding it in Boulder thanks to the University of Colorado's efforts to put the kabosh on the usual happenings on the Norlin Quad, Wyclef Jean was in town for a free show, a show on a day essentially celebrating the practice of smoking weed, in which he was reportedly banned from making any ganja references. Busting on stage with the Fugee classic "Ready or Not," he added a little freestyle making it clear to the notably small crowd that he would never sell out.
By the middle of the show it was a party, despite a sparse turnout. The numbers slowly diminished as the set wore on, but the energy still was present on Jean's part, and he did everything he could to hype up the meager crowd. "I am from Haiti and Brooklyn," he declared. "You guys are going to have to get a little crazier than this." Jean then turned around and grabbed his guitar and began playing the first notes of "That Shit Crazy," which was followed by "No Woman, No Cry." Shortly after that, he told his DJ to start busting out those crazy tracks like "Let me Clear my Throat" and "Jump Around" to show that he wasn't here to play around.
Next, Jean told his brother, "Tell mom I love her if I don't make it back," and made his way into the crowd, where he then lead them with a light skip around the sound board. Everyone, of course, had their camera phones out to capture the moment, because, well, it's not every day that you're at what amounts to a private party hosted by the dude who ran for president of Haiti. If the turnout was a disappointment to Jean, you'd never know it from the way he performed and thoroughly engaged the crowd, pulling people on stage with him to dance.
Personal Bias: I freaked out when Wyclef Jean opened with the Fugees. I busted through the crowd and paid my respect.
Random Detail: What wasn't random about this whole show? This show was just random in general.
By The Way: Don't miss Jean next time he comes through. If you do, you'll be kicking yourself.
Page down for more photos and a video of Wyclef Jean's brother smoking up in the quad.
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Wyclef's brother to crowd: "I'll make a deal with y'all. If I hit this bowl, we get to go to the concert and have some fun."