When my editor called me Thursday night with the opportunity to see Ludacris in concert and visit his tour bus I said what any other college student vaguely familiar with his singles would – “Hell yes!” I spent the rest of that evening telling anyone within earshot that at this time tomorrow, I would be asking “Luda” himself exactly how many hoes he had in the “202” area code. So, by the time the cab pulled up to Love nightclub’s deceptively plain exterior on Friday, I was pretty fired up for the event.
Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for the event pretty much died the minute we stepped into the “tour bus.” The whole night turned out to be an obnoxious promotional campaign for a deodorant company that will remain unnamed, so I quickly learned that Ludacris didn’t actually use the bus apart from the occasional pre-show nap. You can probably imagine my disappointment. Maybe I let my imagination get away with me when I was thinking of walking into the bus and seeing champagne flowing from glasses, disco balls spinning on the ceiling and condoms strewn about the floor.
Still, what I found was far from what I expected – two beige rooms covered with at least eight plasma televisions quietly airing BET.
The people hosting us were kind enough to answer a few questions on their version of what Ludacris was “really like” and put out some chips and a few Snickers bars, but that was the extent of their hospitality. I ended up just sitting on the bus for over an hour contemplating the million other ways I could have wasted an entire evening while Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” was stuck on repeat in my head.
Eventually, they kicked us out of the bus and directed us into the building to wait another two hours for the show to start. Love is a large, swanky, well-kept bar and dance club located in the middle of a crappy Northeast neighborhood. It was only 8 p.m., so the five other college newspaper writers and I stood around the lobby area watching the decked-out clubgoers straggle in. For two hours. Two excruciatingly long hours.
Around 10, the club bouncers started letting people upstairs to file into the room where Ludacris would be performing. Not being drunk or scantily dressed, I walked up and secured a nice spot in the middle about 6 feet from the stage. I swear I saw a “maximum capacity” sign in the room, but someone must have been ignoring it because people kept pouring in at exponential rates. Now, at other shows I’ve been to, people will crowd in front of you in search of their “friends,” but they will still respect a relatively comfortable distance once the artist appears on stage. This was not the case here, as my bubble of personal space had never been so violated as masses of Ludacris’ die-hard fans shoved me to get closer to the stage.
Barely able to breathe, let alone see what was going on farther than 5 inches in front of me, I waited another half-hour until Ludacris finally came on. At least I assume it was him. I couldn’t actually see anything. On all sides I was bombarded with girls going crazy and dancing into me. How they found room to dance is still a mystery to me, but after about three songs I was more than ready to leave.
With everyone so crammed into the room and the “You’s a Hoe” song playing, it was really difficult finding my way out, but I ended up settling into a routine of pushing someone to let me squeeze by and then yelling an apology. After about a minute, I realized the futility of apologizing to drunken people who couldn’t hear me in the first place and just dove into the remaining 30 feet separating a dreadful experience and my freedom.