By Megan Viste
The Observatory Orange County hosted Big Sean, born Sean Michael Leonard Anderson, for two sold-out shows he performed back-to-back March 26 as part of the tour to promote his new album, “I Decided,” released in February.
The initial 8 p.m. show sold out within hours, prompting the venue to schedule a secondary late show for 11 p.m. to accommodate the popular demand.
Big Sean has been a well-known name on the rap/hip-hop scene since the release of his album, “Finally Famous,” back in 2011, with his first single, “My Last,” debuting at number 30 on U.S. Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
Six years later, an artist with several awards and Grammy nominations would be expected to play a larger arena over the modesty of The Observatory, but as a solo performer, the audience became just as much a part of the show as Sean Don himself.
Big Sean entered the stage after building anticipation with the lingering instrumental intro for his self-reflective song, “Voices in My Head” before continuing into the second part of the piece, titled “Stick to the Plan.”
It didn’t take long for the audience to join in reciting lines along with the Detroit rapper. The enthusiasm especially built during his performance of “Clique,” his collaboration single with Kanye West and Jay Z.
Playing off the audience’s enthusiasm, Big Sean climbed up onto one of the speakers and engaged the audience in a call and response chant.
Later, Big Sean brought opening act MadeinTYO (Made in Tokyo), back out to perform an encore of his single “Skateboard P” that features Big Sean on an alternate version.
Despite the several collaborations Big Sean’s albums have featured, no surprise guests were brought out during the show, which is unusual for a concert performed in such close proximity to Los Angeles.
The audience didn’t seem to mind the lack of surprise guests, but instead, invested themselves in the very intimate atmosphere Big Sean created.
He took several opportunities between songs to share personal memories and mantras in order to connect with the audience on a deeper level.
The rapper recalled his roots in California, having been born in Santa Monica before moving to Detroit.
The love from the audience was especially obvious after Big Sean mentioned having celebrated his birthday the day before, prompting the crowd to spontaneously break into song to wish “Happy Birthday” to the 29-year-old rapper.
Big Sean reciprocated the love with the energy he displayed on stage.
He spent almost no time behind his microphone stand center-stage, instead, constantly climbing the partition step at the edge of the stage to reach out to members of the crowd.
As the night continued, the rap artist reiterated his dedication to creating music with a message, saying that his priority in the studio is to produce something meaningful that makes people feel good.
The second half of his performance was devoted to such meaningful songs as “Sacrifices” and “Blessings,” lulling the crowd into a meditative state of solidarity with the message and the artist.
Before following up with an encore performance of his current single, “Bounce Back,” Big Sean took a moment with the audience to reflect on his career and life so far.
“Success isn’t measured by anything but an emotion,” he said, “and that’s happiness.”
Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings
Album artwork for Big Sean’s “I Decided.”
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