They're thuggish. They're ruggish. They're sluggish. Bone Thugs N' Harmony at The Vogue was a Friday night contrasted by varied emotions. The highlights of the show juxtaposed with its disappointments, making it unlike any other show I've ever seen at the venue.
Doors opened at 8, but when I arrived, at 9, the line was still snaked all the way down the block. Scalpers stalked the line, as they peddled tickets at an ungodly amount, around sixty dollars a pop, for the evening's sold-out show. Once we made it into the theater, we found a spot and watched as the openers came out. However, little did we know, as we patiently sipped our beverages, that it would be over two and a half hours before the Thugs themselves made it onto stage.
Over four ambiguous rappers and hip-hop duos, moseyed out to perform in that horrendously long two and a half hour period before the headliners appeared. The only clearly defined rap group that performed before the Thugs was The Pro Letarians. Having listened to this producer-singer combination before at GlowFest in Bloomington last fall, I had high expectations for these upcoming artists. Unfortunately, the singer was suffering from a cold, which led to a far weaker performance than the last time I saw them. After they left the stage, numerous, unmemorable rappers sang generic, trashy songs to the crowd as time dragged on before Bone Thugs emerged.
Despite the accumulating annoyance arising in the crowd, Bone Thugs persisted in taking eons to start singing. When they finally took stage, they faced equipment trouble. This is the very last way that anyone wants to see one of their favorite rap groups. Once that issue was fixed, the Bone Thugs commenced a recap of their greatest hits. This is all that anyone had hoped for all along. Belting out vintage Thug hits like "Thuggish, Ruggish Bone," "First of the Month" and "Notorious Thugs" they ultimately had my attention. These songs ignited movement across the audience, as people raised their drinks to fallen rap stars like Notorious B.I.G. and Eazy-E.
Fortunately, they performed well past 1 in the morning, which sort of made up for their delayed set. However, the sound quality left something to be desired, too. It sounded like the Bones were rapping over their actual recorded tracks, which made for a strange, tinny echo through the speakers. Finishing up their act with "Crossroads" was an almost redemptive move, until they invited all the ladies up on stage to shake their butts. I'm not anti-rump shaking, but on stage at The Vogue just didn't seem like the right time. Overall, I was happy to hear one of my favorite hip-hop groups from my high school days perform live, but I don't know if I would go out of my way to do it again.