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Meek Mill At Madison Square Garden, Saturday, October 23rd, 2021, Reviewed

The entire show

Meek Mill has a great voice but the Philadelphian poster boy, almost literally, for false incarceration is missing too much on his fastball: it took Jay Z and a cast of thousands to get him freed from jail and the clutches of Judge Genece Brinkley. Meek Mill, who spent a not untypical inner city youth selling drugs and playing with glocks, but the Judge was a dangerous nutcase who told Meek he had to cover Boyz II Men and shout her out.

Meek is out of prison, out of the pandemic, and for a one night only concert (sold out, TeamMeek claim though tickets were on heavy discount earlier this week), at Madison Square Garden. And if you’re a Meek Mill fan it was a big time one off with a fistful of heavy duty guests, and a new album to sell.

But it wasn’t a very good show, though it had good moments.

With the doors at 630pm and the show meant to start at 8pm, we got a desultory DJ spinning old school Jay Z and a coupla Junior Varsity rappers, Kay Flock & B Lovee, for ten minutes and otherwise crickets till 930 despite Mill claiming on Twitter that he would be on stage at 845pm. The private airplane entrepreneur PJ Kev did a lousy, sub-DJ Khaled, DJ set and Meek didn’t arrive till 945pm, and while the audience was enamored the man is not a great by any stretch. He has the voice but his flow is suspect, his articulation trippy, and he was outshined by his guests. The problems is that the evening was all over the place and Meek wasn’t good enough to anchor the proceedings. With no live instruments, everything, including vocals, was on tape, and the performers were singing along when the mood took them. I expect that from soundcloud rappers like Ski Mask the Slump God, not from big time MSG headliners. Meek’s best moment was his freestyle over Drake’s “Back To Back” (yes, a pre taped freestyle) before segueing to “Blue Notes 2” with Lil Uzi and leaving the stage to Vert who performed an energetic if not very live fifteen minutes opening with a full on “Do What I Want”.

And so it goes, every time Meek seemed in control he left the stage to the likes of A Boogie Wit A Hoodie killing “Look Back At It” and a tribute to Pop Smoke. I missed Lil Baby and Lil Durk at Barclays earlier this month and after catching a truncated set featuring their Meek guest star on “Sharing Locations”, it was clearly loss. Of everybody last night only Lil Baby and Uzi, were big time. Rowdy Rebels brought out Bobby Shmurda who I haven’t seen since his release.

And between them, Meek did his best, the “Love Train” and “Dreams and Nightmares” back to back was alright, but he will never n be more than a mediocre rapper and from the late start to the cheesy as fuck singing along to backing tracks, he had something to prove and didn’t.

Grade: C

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