Annika Magnusson | 18 March 2014

Brisbane felt we could Get Lucky with a big glimpse of Happy. Heart-throb, trend-setter, mountain-hat wearer, hip hop star, artist, producer, multi-instrumentalist, musician: Pharrell Williams took to Brisbane Riverstage at his sideshow event where he made up for his absence from Future Music Festival Brisbane, skillfully fitting in a whole-lot-of-love into not-a-whole-lot of performance time. Backed by DJane Eque (and spouse to Talib Kweli for those trash mongers), with a #mammoth digital screen disaplying images of hot females in various stages of #undress and some lighting and lasers, it was certainly an #unforgettable performance – though perhaps for surprisingly different reasons.

The variety of chart topping songs left little in the way of doubt about his #awesomeness, kicking off the show with classic party tunes where his production skills have been heavily involved in from Snoop’s Drop It Like It's Hot to Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl and Nelly’s Hot in Here. The inclusion of these tracks provided a great deal of #insight into how deeply involved Pharrell is with the music industry – certainly more than many of us (particularly the young ones in attendance) would have realised. But with only 40 minutes of stage time, it's safe to say the performance definitely had us on our toes - if not, a little rushed. Nevertheless, he sure knew how to rouse a scene of #hysteria in under 20 minutes.

But if there was any honesty to be had, Pharrell's enthusiasm was nothing compared to the sheer excitement of the estrogen-fueled fans invited to join him on stage. Taking selfies with the man and his #signature hat, and pressing up against his seemingly-not-so-forty-year-old bare chest, anyone could see that Pharrell #loves women. And women #love Pharrell. So that pretty much sums up Pharrell's performance. One fan in particular had his undivided attention. Obviously impressed with her devotion, she was stolen from the crowd and invited to perform alongside him – certainly, her performance may have been more enthusiastic as his. We at least got a full song out of her before she was offered an invite to hang-out after the show. #Yep. You can be guaranteed hundreds of dedicated teenage girls died a little inside. 

As he rolled through his 2013 top hits from Hunter to Blurred Lines, Get Lucky, as well as N*E*R*D’s She Wants to Move, the crowd was jumping. But the #highlight of the night rippled through the crowd as hands flew up in signs of respect, where roars of applause were heard with squeals of nothing-less-than-love for the star. Genuine glee was raining on the hillside of The Riverstage that night as that popular track we don’t-need-to-name was sung. And it wasn’t just once, but twice that the crowd was #treated to this oh-so-popular song. No matter the performance, no matter the expectations, there's no resistance to #grooving along - even if only a little - to his latest hit. Shooing away his security guards and asking his fans to make a line down the centre, he attempted to join the crowd – even if only making it a few meters deep for an #epic encore. 

There were many who loved this gig. Equally, there were some who were disappointed. Clearly, we were lucky to even get a performance out of Pharrell, for in spite of his musicianship background, his vocal chops certainly couldn’t stand up against this lone 45 minute performance; something interesting in #comparison, given the chops of Queensland’s cover band singers lasting the distance of four x 45 minute sets. And we are Brisbane after all. Just because Lonely Planet voted us the #coolest city in Australia doesn’t mean we’re a first stop for A List superstars Down Under. And the range of ages from small kids to the mature party goers was an excellent #indication of his popular appeal. 

However, it was the #format of the show that perhaps contributed largely to the less-than-100% delirium. Given his immense talent as a musician, the expectations of his performance alongside equally mammoth talented musos would have featured high on the #list. Pharrell’s vocal talents have only just come to the #forefront in the last few years, while his musicianship and production skills have always been well noted and appreciated since the late 90s. Singing along to ‘backing’ tracks supplied by DJ Eque with the #original vocals turned down only slightly, saw the ends of tracks stilted and abrupt; the flow of the entire performance continually #interrupted. Perhaps if the tracks had been reworked to exclude the original performer’s vocals (surely this could be done given Pharrell is the producer?) with endings adapted for smoother #continuity, there would have been a lot less bitter pills #swallowed amongst the crowd. 

In saying all that however, Brisbane truly is lucky to have such a big talent and name visit; nothing to thumb our nose against at all. It is simply that we have such a rich tapestry of live music produced here in The City that we have the #expectations we do from billion-dollar bankrolled megastars. Take it how you want, but when the #grooves are this good, the world is just a better place with Pharrell around.  

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