Kid Cudi's playing at my house

Review: Cornell crowd gets wild at Kid Cudi's intimate concert with opener Cee Lo Green.

The show began promptly at 7 p.m. By 7:15 a kid lay slouched against the bleachers, surrounded by paramedics and onlookers as he vomited on himself. At 7:45, EMTs evacuated a girl on a stretcher. The diligent janitor zipped back and forth from one vomit pile to the next, wiping away any trace of the indiscretion just in time for other people to come and sit in the same spot.

Photo: Brian Dawson
Kid Cudi took time during the show to speak to his fans about following their dreams.

Kid Cudi hosted what seemed like the ultimate house party at Cornell University on Saturday night, complete with hip-hop beats, stumbling girls in high heels, couples grinding inappropriately, and kids vomiting in the bleachers. The night was truly a tribute to the glory of college.

The 1,000-plus concertgoers were intoxicated both by the drugs in their systems and the artists’ intimate and high-energy show. The dancing never stopped, but it intensified when Kid Cudi graced the stage, bathed from behind by heroic white light, wearing his trademark sunglasses and a leather jacket. Dozens were instantly thrown into the air to crowdsurf while girls clamored onto the backs of their tall male friends. Kid Cudi told the crowd, “I’m gonna get my Obama on, ‘cause I’m your big brother,” as he launched into “Revofev” from his new album, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, out on Nov. 9.

Kid Cudi’s set felt like a conversation with a friend. His personality seemed genuine as he took the jacket off his back and gave it to a lucky fan, saying with a chuckle, “I’ve had that hoodie for a year, man. It’s yours now. It’s too hot.” He tenderly serenaded his drug of choice with the aptly titled “Marijuana,” crooning a cappella, “Pretty green bud all in my blood, 
oh I need it,
 we can take off now.” He challenged the crowd to keep up for three pulse-pounding songs, including the David Guetta jam “Memories” and the blaring airhorn remix of “Day ‘N Nite.”

While Cudi doesn’t necessarily boast the raw sex appeal of a rapper like Pharrell, his ingenuity makes him sexy. His beats delight with danceability, but it’s his surprisingly inspiring lyrics that really sell you on his talent. Just a skinny guy from Cleveland, he speaks to the misfit and soul-searcher in all of us – with lyrics like “I’ve got some issues that nobody can see, and all of these emotions are pouring out of me,” he really has become the soundtrack to many students’ lives.

Soul-searching aside, this crowd was in a great mood – and from the very beginning. Kid Cudi’s friend and sometimes collaborator, rapper Chip tha Ripper, opened the show. Though barely anyone seemed to recognize his songs, dozens of blunts lit and filled the room with smoke as he started the first set of the night. The crowd enjoyed his half-hour set, but responded especially well to “Ugly as F---” – dedicated, Chip said, to that one person at the party who isn’t having fun while everyone else is trying to enjoy themselves. Tell that to the kid already passed out in the back.

And yet every artist celebrated the party atmosphere. Cee Lo Green dedicated one of his songs to “lighting up” and thrilled the crowd with his rendition of “Crazy” from his days in Gnarls Barkley. Though the audience didn’t always give him the reception he deserved, they practically started punching each other in the face as he closed the set with his R&B hit “F--- You.” Green asked everyone to think of a hated ex-boyfriend or girlfriend before screaming, “F--- you!” loud enough for exes the world over to hear it.

But in the end, it was Kid Cudi who captured everyone’s attention enough to really make them listen to the music rather than just quote song lyrics in each other’s faces. As his set came to a close he sat down to talk to the audience, saying, “Everybody in school, I know how it is figuring it out. I know life is kind of crazy, but it’s all good. Don’t ever let nobody tell you you can’t do shit.”

As the alien sounds of “Pursuit of Happiness” filled the air, the students abandoned their wild antics and relished the music and Cudi’s message, meant just for them: “If I fall, if I die, know I lived it to the fullest.”

Cornell University's front row concertgoers raised shoes, arms and cameras into the air during Kid Cudi's Saturday night show. (Photo: Brian Dawson)

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