Review / photos: Nelly packs 'em in at Shephard's Beach Resort in Clearwater Beach
In all my years of covering concerts and events at Shephard's, I have never seen them pull out an extended stage like they did for Nelly. I was told they added about eight feet of stage to their existing stage to accommodate Nelly and the St. Lunatics.
The opening acts were Tampa hip-hop acts Velez and Acafool. Nelly was supposed to go on at 9 p.m., but when his bus ran a bit late, his time was pushed back to around 10:30 p.m. I don't think I heard anyone make an official announcement to the crowd, which was expecting Nelly to hit the stage at 9 p.m. Acafool, who was supposed to go on right before Nelly, was told to go on at 9:30 p.m. to entertain the already antsy crowd.
After about three songs or so, the crowd began to boo and starting chanting, "Nelly! Nelly!" in the middle of Acafool's set. At first he seemed unfazed by the heckling, but then stopped the music and said, "Yeah, you can boo all you want, but you try and get on this stage and do what I do!" Then, "Nelly ain't coming out until I'm done, so just relax!" Then the crowd settled down and let Acafool finish his set. I don't think that Acafool was doing a bad job, I personally think that the crowd was hot and expecting Nelly.
Nelly and the St. Lunatics jumped on the stage almost two hours after they were supposed to perform (approximately 10:40 p.m.). Nelly and Crew were escorted from the tour bus directly onto the stage where, without skipping a beat, they started the show. The crowd went wild as he quickly ran through his hits: Country Grammar, Pimp Juice, Air Force Ones, Hot in Herre, Just a Dream and others. After his performance he was then escorted away, were I was told he was headed to Orlando.
-- Text/photos by Luis Santana, tbt*. Click here for even more photos of the party scene at Shephard's.