Music Reviews



Wiltern LG, Los Angeles
Wednesday, July 18

During her Wednesday night show at the Wiltern LG in Los Angeles, Fergie launched into a medley of teaser bits of hits by her group Black Eyed Peas and then, lo and behold, was joined by the rest of the quartet for the soft-pedal social commentary "Where Is The Love?"

The appearance of her fellow Peas was one of the few truly exciting moments and also illustrated that they're better off as a funky fantastic four, the individual parts nowhere as interesting as the whole.

A Southern California local -- originally from Hacienda Heights -- Stacy Ferguson as Fergie has become quite the brand, taking her Peas high profile to the next level with the success of her solo album "The Dutchess" (Interscope).

Unfortunately, the songs are generally the stuff of charts today, forgotten tomorrow, as she plays the bump-and-grind sassy sexpot that every girl and woman in the audience wanted to be. Although she talked a bit about struggles and such, the majority of themes were material girl in a material world gets it all with a wiggling attitude.

Fergie entered down a small set of stairs at center stage, draped in a royal cloak, wielding a scepter, her head topped by a tiara and sporting boots, a black micro-miniskirt and matching small black top to reveal that fitness magazine midriff. She kicked things off with "Here I Come," based on the Temptations/Rare Earth classic "Get Ready."

Flanked by pairs of hyperactive female and male dancers, her bombastic bubblegum hip-hop was novelty and formula, such as the sing-song "London Bridge" and her "anthem" of self-pride (or is that ego?) "Fergalicious." Even the Peas' "My Humps," the biggest booty-centric hit since the days of Sir Mix-A-Lot, is pretty ridiculous.

The irony is, when she wants to deliver the goods, she can -- and with a powerful voice. Sending the dancers away for a bit, she shined early on during her current hit, the acoustic-based midtempo pop ballad "Big Girls Don't Cry" (not a Four Seasons remake, though a solid song). However, her cover of Heart's '70s hard rock shredder "Barracuda," which she recorded for the soundtrack of "Shrek the Third," lacked teeth and was bar-band choppy.

The event, as it was presented, seemed more about sponsorship and marketing than music. The Verizon VIP Tour finds the cell phone company offering prime tickets to service subscribers (and perhaps ticking off any fans who use Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.?) and a preshow "fashion show" that featured mostly female fans dressed in clothes provided by Candie's at Kohl's stores, supposedly reflecting "Fergie-style."