When the colorful lights started flashing and J. Cole came out in his Carolina hoodie, energy coursed through Carmichael Arena.
Cole’s clever and thoughtful lyrics were a hit with the sold-out crowd, composed of mainly UNC students, at the 2012 Homecoming Concert Sunday night.
Stars: 4 of 5
Performing radio hits like “Nobody’s Perfect” and “Work Out,” Cole reminded the audience of how far the Fayetteville native has come in his career.
But the show’s impact was severely affected by the venue layout.
Those lucky enough to get floor tickets got a great view of Cole and openers King Mez and Elle Varner, but those in the upper levels of the auditorium got a very different show.
Cole even apologized to the parts of the crowd farthest away from him when he got onto the stage.
The energy of the show never reached its full potential due to the ill-timed Sunday night performance in the midst of midterms.
During Cole’s many interludes, he took time to acknowledge his fans, some of whom have supported him since his debut.
When he slowed the tempo down and performed some of his oldest songs, Cole seemed more like a local artist than a well-known rapper.
J. Cole, a graduate of St. Johns University in New York, rapped an a cappella rendition of “I’m A Fool” — relating his lyrics to the college experience, which seemed to resonate with the audience.
During his set, Cole was all over the stage, feeding off the infectious energy from the crowd. His dancing, at times almost ridiculous, was ultimately endearing as he moved fluidly around the stage like Gumby.
Though his performance was charismatic, Cole and opener Varner missed an opportunity to perform their song “Only Wanna Give It To You” together.
Varner, whose voice sounds just as polished live as it does on the radio, performed the song on her own.
Despite the unfortunate timing and the limitations posed by the venue, Cole’s performance shined through in a show worthy of a UNC Homecoming.
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