It’s not everyday that one gets to witness a performance by an artist as passionate and eclectic as Anderson .Paak. For the lucky folks present at his sold-out show at the Riviera Theatre this past weekend, it was a dynamic and unforgettable night, one that was bursting at the seams with palpable energy. Fresh off of his recent win at the Grammys for Best Rap Performance, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals took the city by storm during the Chicago stop of their “Andy’s Beach Club (ABC) World Tour.”
Opening the set with his track “The Chase” from his latest album Oxnard, .Paak commenced his show by boasting his versatile talent in rapping, singing, and playing percussion. Right from the start, he transitioned seamlessly between rapping while jamming away on his drum set to dancing like a pro and singing at the stagefront. Gliding effortlessly across the floor in smooth moonwalks and accenting notes with his sharp moves, .Paak rapped and sang confidently without missing a beat. Keeping the fire burning, he continued with back to back bangers “Who R U?” from Oxnard and “Bubblin’” – the single that won him his first Grammy.
In Oxnard, the rapper boasts some big-name collaborators, including Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Pusha T, and BJ The Chicago Kid, to name a few. However, it’s clear that Anderson .Paak is a star that shines on his own, whether with or without the help of his friends. With only his voice, his stage presence, and the support of a band that understood and accentuated his style, the rapper brought his individual flavor to each song.
The rest of the show’s setlist consisted of highlights from the rapper’s previous albums Venice and Malibu as well as some covers. Whether it be in slow jams like “Suede,” bittersweet tributes like “Dang!” or danceable tunes like “Tints,” his energy was infectious from start to finish.
Though he’s come a long way from his humble beginnings as “Breezy Lovejoy,” it seems like the sky’s the limit for Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals. Without a doubt, Anderson .Paak distinguished himself as the multi-talented artist and performer that he is.