Powerhouse Concert 2001

By Staff Writer
November 8, 2001

Sharvon Urbannavage

The 2001 Powerhouse concert, sponsored by Power99 FM, attracted thousands of Philadelphians who filled the First Union Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26. Hip-hop and R&B artists entertained a sold-out audience with energy-packed performances and unexpected surprises. A simultaneous webcast allowed those without tickets, but with computers, to view the concert and the backstage action.

Powerhouse has a history of selling out within the first hour that tickets go on sale every year, during early September. This phenomenon is especially fascinating since the artist line-up is unknown at the time of ticket sales.

Those who are fortunate enough to acquire tickets are able to enjoy the live show and also model their outfits for the unofficial credit of being most fashionable. Powerhouse has somewhat transformed from merely a concert to a display of the latest fashion trends. However, the focus always remains on the artists.

This year’s show began with a performance by Mr. Cheeks of the Lost Boyz. Mr. Cheeks hyped the crowd with his latest single “Lights, Camera, Action” and other hits from his days with the late Freaky Tah.

After a short delay, Fabulous took the stage with his debut hit “Can’t Deny It” and verses from his collaborations with Mary J. Blige and Lil’ Mo. The hip-hop appeal continued as Noreaga immediately followed with a crowd-pumping performance that included a surprise appearance from Capone.

A moment of silence and a cigarette lighter vigil for the late Aaliyah followed a choreographed tribute to several songs by the fallen star. Dancers performed to “Are You That Somebody,” “Try Again,” “Rock The Boat” and other hits by Aaliyah.

Excitement grew when Jadakiss appeared onstage enticing the audience with “Knock Yourself Out” and “We Gon’ Make It.” However, the energy of the crowd quickly transitioned from fanatic screams to spiteful boos. This response from the Powerhouse fans was due to a negative remark from Jadakiss in reference to South Philly’s own Beanie Sigel.

As the stage crew scurried to clear the debris of glow sticks, ice, cheese fries and anything else hurled to the stage by disgruntled audience members, Busta Rhymes prepared to take the stage with his hype-man Spliff Star. The performance of hits such as “Gimme Some More,” “What It Is Right Now” and the newest single “Break Yo Neck” from his upcoming album exhibited the intensity he displays in his music videos.

Faith Evans managed to keep the restored energy flowing as she performed several songs including “Love Like This,” “You Gets No Love” and a portion of “I Can’t Believe,” her collaboration with fellow Bad Boy artist Carl Thomas.

The Bad Boy theme continued with the following act being Sean “P.Diddy” Combs. His entrance featured a giant white screen displaying an enlarged silhouette of his body while the theme music from the movie “Jaws” resonated in the background.

Stereotypical of P.Diddy, he began his performance by stimulating the crowd with track samples of other artists appearing at Powerhouse. He then invited fellow-rapper Beanie Sigel to the stage. Unknowing to the audience, the Philly-based artist had received word of the statements made earlier in the evening by Jadakiss and promptly arrived at the First Union Center.

Sigel, with a microphone in hand, came to the stage for an opportunity to redeem himself. He declared that he would not be disrespected, especially in his hometown, during a freestyle performance, which was followed by an array of whoops and hollers from the crowd.

P. Diddy resumed his performance accompanied by Bad Boy artists Black Rob and G-Dep. P. Diddy also featured a group of young dancers from New York known as the Harlem Shakers. He was later joined onstage by Faith for the tribute performance of “I’ll Be Missing You” to the late Notorious B.I.G.

The final act to perform for the evening was Def Jam artist DMX, who is currently traveling the country with his “Hoodstock” tour in which he provides free concerts throughout inner city neighborhoods atop a flat-bed truck. The crowd managed to remain pumped as he performed his hits that included “Where My Dogs At,” “Party Up” and his recent single “Who We Be.”

“Every artist was different,” Colby Colb, Power99 assistant program director and on-air personality, said. “I thought that people didn’t respond well to Faith and at the end of P. Diddy’s show. Other than that it was a great show.”

Ending close to midnight, the concert was followed by several after-parties at various dance clubs throughout the Philadelphia area.

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