LINCOLN — That was something.
It was a concert, sure, but it was more than that. It was a party. A catharsis. A coming out. It was a celebration.
And Cardi B’s blowout happened right here in Nebraska.
The biggest thing in music right now, Cardi B is having a moment. And her moment includes 14 platinum singles, a Grammy and the longest-running chart-topping song by a female rapper.
But let’s put it this way: If a rapper can sell out a concert in Nebraska, they’re a big dang deal. Yeah. You read that right. Of the few arenas the rap superstar elected to visit this summer, one was Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Cardi packed almost 12,000 people into the building Friday night, filling it to the top with writhing, screaming, fiery fans.
“Sold out!” she shouted at the end of the concert. “And I’m grateful.”
From when she uttered her first “okurrrrr” (her trilled catchphrase) to when she uttered the final line of “Bodak Yellow” (“I’m a boss, you a worker… I make bloody moves”), her fans were on their feet screaming and dancing and filling the aisles. (Security had its hands full putting people back in their seats.)
In a pink bodysuit and pink hair and pink sequined heels, Cardi stepped onstage with a cadre of pink-clad dancers to slam through “Drip” and “Twerk” and “I Like It” and “Clout.”
Of course, the rapper, as real as ever, was eventually tired of the heels. “Hold on,” she said in her thick Bronx accent as she plopped down and two dancers helped remove the shoes.
Then she was right back up, rapid-fire rapping “Press” while she twerked. And strutted. And twerked again during “Drip,” this time while pouring water down her body.
Then she stopped. Another real moment: “I need to turn it down cuz a girl got asthma. And I ain’t gonna die cuz of y’all.”
The booty-shaking and the honest talk and the spitfire lyricism are just the kind of thing fans of Cardi expect from her songs and her Instagram stories and her generally outrageous, outspoken personality.
It was almost an hour of pure, unfiltered Cardi B.
Sadly, that’s all it was.
Cardi screamed through the set, only doing a verse or two of some songs before the track came to an abrupt halt and the next one started right up.
It gave an edge to the party atmosphere, but it did leave me wanting more. There was barely any time to enjoy a song before it stopped, and that was most apparent on the finale of “I Like It,” “Finesse,” “Bartier Cardi” and “Bodak Yellow.” Leaving her best songs for last was an expected move, but she burned through them so quickly that it was a slightly disappointing climax to the concert. It didn’t help that she moved so quickly during some songs that she let the backing track take over and do the rapping for her.
That said, she did fit in an amazing number of songs, including all the big hits in which she’s a featured artist, a portion of the show she called “karaoke night.”
“When you a hip-hop (girl) on the pop songs, you made it,” she said.
And hey, it was quite the party. A wild one.
Fans were dressed to kill as they shuttled back and forth from their seats with more drinks. The smell of weed clung to the arena bowl, and fans remained on their feet as they followed Cardi through the epic party.
Cardi B was pleased, especially when she realized just how packed she could make an arena in Nebraska, of all places.
“For me to see this whole … arena packed?” she said. “I’m grateful.”