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Tweeter Center; Camden, NJ; 08/27/02

Reviewed by Alicia Downs

Festival tours have really become a normal summer highlight and this year Sprite put together their own rendition with the 'Sprite Liquid Mix Tour.'  As suggested by the name, the tour combines two different genres of music (rock and rap) with contests and BMX bikes. Not sure that I really wanted to check it out, I had a twelve year old cousin who said he wanted to go, so we packed up and headed out to the Camden Tweeter Center for the day.

The parking lot was truly testament to this liquid mix. Take, for instance, the fact that 311 plays main stage support to Jay Z. Now would be a good time to insert the ever so appropriate "What the fuck?!" face. And, as imagined, the parking lot was a dueling battle between rap fans blaring Philadelphia's own Beanie Sigel and pop-rock fans listening to Incubus, or even better, Incubus twins Hoobastank, who were also on the bill that day. 

So I drug the little one into the Tweeter Center thinking the set up would be similar to Ozzfest with the two stages and vendors.  For the most part it was, with the exception of a full basketball court that showcased the Sprite Liquid Mix team against local players.  And, like Ozzfest, there were sponsors galore with a Blockbuster tent.  Not that I was complaining about that one - they handed out about four free movie rental coupons to us.  There was also a Hyundai Tiburon tent where you could take a look at the car, a Motorola tent with drawings for Motorola goodies and about four radio stations covering the event.  Not that that was a surprise considering the diversity of the bill.  To keep entertained while some not-so-great rap acts took the second stage, I played a trivia contest.  Three questions right and you got concert tickets and four you got a sweet MP3 player.  Well, I got the first three right but then there was the big daddy and here it is for you trivia buffs out there: Which tour was the highest grossing for the 2000 concert year? Anyone? Needless to say, I got it wrong and walked out of there with Enrique Iglesias tickets thinking they could have at least given me tickets for the upcoming Aerosmith show.

By this time the main stage had opened up and we got to see a rap act called the "Nappy Roots." I wasn't too familiar with them other than the video I have seen on MTV that features a rock remix with the guitarist from P.O.D.  Never having been to a 'rap' show before it seemed like they did well but, to be honest, I really could not get into eight grown men on stage vying for 'ham' time.  That is just seven lead singers too many.  So it seemed a bit cluttered to me to say the least and I thought, if we threw some masks on them we might have the next big Mushroomhead.

Then came the part of the day when I got rather agitated. They put rap act N.E.R.D. against one of the only bands I had actually wanted to see that day, Nonpoint. Where the logic was handed down for that I am not sure but having seen Nonpoint and having a twelve year old showing no interest in them we ended up stuck over at the main stage area for N.E.R.D. and from the looks of most of the people in the crowd they were doing the same thing.  Overlapping stages is just a terrible idea.  That reminds me that it is practically like that on Ozzfest this year with second stage headliners Down and main stage openers Black Label Society.  If you have to go with the crowd to get to the lawn or seating area you might as well have missed the end of Down's set or the beginning of BLS.

Sorry for the interruption, now back to N.E.R.D.  For those of you who may or may not know they are composed of the production gurus known as the Neptunes playing with a live band who has the drummer from Hoobastank singing back up vocals in it and drumming.  Overall a good show and the crowd was definitely showing a higher ratio of rap to rock.

Next came on Hoobastink. Oh, wait, did I say that? I meant Hoobastank. And I think that is all we should say about that.  Well, no, being fair, the sounded good but I personally think their music is beyond nauseatingly generic.

And with that thought 311 came out.  I started wondering how Nonpoint got on this bill as they were probably the coolest and heaviest band there. Just the same, 311 put on a solid performance amongst the sea of obvious Jay Z fans.

Now would have been the only other highlight for me - getting to see Jay Z perform.  But when the man arrived so did a VERY large posse of peeps.  With that my cousin turned to me and said I think I have seen enough and am ready to go home.  Never one to argue leaving that which is a crappy concert I was already in the car with the engine running.

So what is the moral of this story folks? Well, the Sprite Liquid Mix tour - while a good idea in theory - is kind of a bust. No matter how much the powers that be want us to believe it, rock and rap don't mix. 

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.