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I purchased my Common Ground ticket with a complete one-track mind: Big Sean. So, Sunday night, I took the River Trail to the festival.
I had been fan-girling about Big Sean closing the festival for a few weeks -- I talked about seeing him in the newsroom ad nauseum, and I’m sure everyone was excited for the day to be here so it could finally end.
Walking the River Trail, I could see boaters, kayakers and people setting up Adirondack chairs in beachy areas all doing what I had been doing for weeks: preparing to hear Michigander Big Sean close out Common Ground.
My mind wandered. I knew he would play his most recent hits, but was hoping to hear some of his older ones, more specifically “Marvin & Chardonnay,” one of my favorites. “I guess time will tell,” I thought.
The bass thump got louder with each step I took, and by the time I was going through security could hear Twista’s tongue-tying lyrics coming from the Sparrow Stage, he was just finishing up.
Once I was through security, I headed straight to the Auto Value Main Stage to stake my claim somewhere in the crowd — hopefully with a good enough view. The horde of people was already buzzing in anticipation — they had their Detroit or Michigan gear on and they were ready, Big Sean.
His DJ, DJ Mo Beatz, hyped up the crowd and then Big Sean appeared, a high-energy, backlit silhouette dancing and jumping around on stage. He opened with “Moves,” a hit from “I Decided.,” his latest album.
When it ended, he thanked the crowd and said how good it felt to be home.
Then, he played some of his older hits. Songs he rapped on with Kanye West, like “Clique,” and “Mercy.”
I thought for sure he was going to play “Marvin & Chardonnay,” he had to. No dice.
I was mildly disappointed, but that was temporary due to how high-energy Big Sean stayed throughout his set -- I’m still scratching my head at how he managed to simultaneously jump around and rap (sans Auto-tune) the entire time.
When his set was over, he thanked the crowd and then jumped into it to shake fans’ hands. Nervous security guards scampered on stage, trying to extract him, but he crowd-surfed just enough out of their reach to meet more fans.
Convinced he would never make it back to where I was standing, I decided to get a head start on the impending stampede to leave. As I turned around, the guards finally managed to swoop Big Sean onto the stage safely.
I got to the edge of the grass when I heard something being played over the stage speakers. It was only a few seconds in, but I could spot that intro anywhere -- “Marvin & Chardonnay.”
I never about-faced so quickly in my life -- seriously, I’m surprised I didn’t roll an ankle.
It was just as good as I imagined it to be during my River Trail pre-Big Sean thinking session earlier, actually it was better.
I was having the time of my life, but knew I had to head home or there was no way I would wake up for my Monday morning alarm, so I started my walk back while he re-rapped “Bounce Back,” another “I Decided.” hit, somehow with more energy than the first time.
I could still hear him continuing the encore almost the entire walk home. Overall, an incredible performance that didn’t disappoint my already high expectations. Plus, “Marvin & Chardonnay” took my night from great to amazing -- I guess what I’m trying to say is, the bags under my eyes this morning are worth it.