By Anupa Mistry
The line to get into last night’s Diddy-Dirty Money show snaked along the length of the Kool Haus, ‘round the corner, reaching almost to Lower Jarvis. Surprising, because last week 1500 tickets to the “Coming Home” tour were released on a local group buying site, priced at a surprising 50 per cent off. Discount date night or genuine fandom, the hangar of a venue was filled out — with additional plush, private booths on the concert floor — for the intimate, two-and-a-half-hour concert.
Touring in support of the group’s well-received debut Last Train to Paris, Diddy-Dirty Money (featuring Mr. Combs alongside Kalenna Harper and ex-Danity Kane-r Dawn Richardson) managed to turn out a deft, slightly manic set of new and old. But first Tyga, a gangly, Wiz Khalifa-dead ringer of a rapper warmed up the crowd. A protégé of Lil Wayne (of Young Money; please, let’s not confuse this with Dirty Money), Tyga got wider attention last year via a guest verse on Chris Brown’s “Deuces.” His half-hour of aggressive, athletic rapping — including “Deuces,” “Bedrock,” “Like Me,” and the Kanye flip “I’m So Raw” — went over well with the teeming, excited crowd.
Just after 11, three giant slabs of LCD — one hovering facedown over centre stage — lit up the room as Dirty Money stalked out in OMG-high stilettos, long ponytails, and dresses so tight they really must’ve been peeled off later on. Diddy made his debut in classic Hamptons white — dancing, obvs — amongst band members perched on a tier above the stage.
Immediately launching into the Grace Jones featuring “Yeah Yeah You Would,” the trio moved energetically and totally choreo’d through Last Train’s (sizable) bangers: Major Lazer-sampling “Ass On The Floor,” glitchy Lil Wayne feature “Strobe Lights,” Bossa Nova metered “I Hate That You Love Me,” “Your Love,” and the melancholic “Angels.” Excursions to Diddy’s recent side hits (the remix to Waka Flocka Flame’s “O Let’s Do It” and sing-along hit “Last Night”) led the first half to end with a blended, slightly unremarkable cover of Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” and “Solider of Love.”
Energy picked up as the LCD panels, which really helped transform Kool Haus’ dinge into a cabaret-ish vibe, rotated to display a Biggie montage. Stripped down to a T-shirt, Diddy strolled out and gave it to us: a Bad Boy Records hit reel. From “Benjamins” to “Only You” to “I Need A Girl” (parts one AND two!) to “Mo’ Money,” Diddy proved a mogul can viably tour on legacy without coming off hokey or compromising. After a quietly intense “I’ll Be Missing You,” Diddy got the crowd to rap along to B.I.G.’s “Juicy” and “Hypnotize,” before Dirty Money returned to close with singles “Coming Home” and “Hello Good Morning.”
Though excess has transformed him to caricature-status, Diddy has always had passion on his side through the ups and very real downs of Bad Boy (uh, where the hell did 112 go, y’all?). But, in the end, his zeitgeist-y hits and ability to translate current pop trends into relevant, meaningful music mean that even in another 10 years, he’ll still be on top.