LL Cool J Knocks Out The Crowd At The Key Club Grand Opening In Hollywood
The anticipation built from early in the night. Timbaland was performing just down the street. Justin Timberlake, Brandy and The Fray were performing with him. It was Grammy weekend in LA. The grandfather of hip hop would soon be in the house for the Grand Re-Opening of the Key Club on Sunset in Hollywood.
Those who showed up early got a nice taste of pop-rock from down under. Evermore is a band from New Zealand who has achieved some nice success from MTV Australia (they also opened for Pink on her Funhouse tour). They came to LA as if they had a purpose- to entertain and make their mark on America. They brought a giant bank of pseudo-television screens that assaulted their audience with media during their enjoyable performance.
How many hip hop artists from his era are still relevant? That is the question with LL Cool J. For, the man has the talent and work ethic to endure and continue to reinvent himself as music and entertainment has changed over twenty plus years. This writer still has a cassette tape from 1985 that has “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” and “Rock The Bells” on it. But, I can also turn on the TV and see LL hosting the Grammy Nominations or bringin’ it on NCIS.
That is the type of credibility that LL Cool J has and the anticipation in the room at the tri-level Key Club showed it. As the celebs rolled in and ducked behind the velvet rope into the VIP (Sean Paul, Mena Suvari and Adrianne Curry danced all night), the club filled to capacity. Since this was a celebration of the Key Club Grand Opening, there were couches set up on stage and 50+ friends of LL danced on stage. Many of his cohorts were part of his NCIS team.
The club exploded into euphoria the moment LL walked across the stage. It was already almost 12:30am. He grabbed the mike and reminded the crowd that while this was a party, people were still suffering in Haiti. He spent ten minutes greeting his folks on stage and then it was go time.
The wait was worth it. LL Cool J took command of the stage, interacting with the DJ and free-flowing between his hits. He would launch into part of a rhyme, stop and then move into something else fresh and booming… It was on.
Yes, he spit “Going Back To Cali.” Yes, he performed “Mama Said Knock You Out.” In the midst of the iPods and cell phone cameras that desperately waved for a shot of the legend, he ruled the place. LL stomped back and forth, across the stage. He talked about coming back and doing a full show. The fans on stage danced around him. The 45-minute set hit hard and left a lasting impression.