If the Black Eyed Peas have their way, "The Beginning" will indeed be the start of a new phase in the group's career when it comes to performing live.
After a test-run through stadiums in South America earlier this month, will.i.am tells Billboard.com that the Peas are planning to promote the new album, which comes out Nov. 30, in similar venues around the world.
"South America was a test," he says. "We did all our homework...to try to figure out how we can do stadiums in other countries, in America, in Europe. If Black Eyed Peas can do five O2 Arenas, why don't we just do it in one shot? If we can do three Staples Centers, we should do one Dodgers Stadium. So that's how we'll probably tour this time around."
Will.i.am says he considers a stadium "the best one yet" to house a Peas show. "It's like you're there with all your friends. You're there in front of 50,000 people and they're there to watch you and your friends. Nothing gets any better than that. It's the best feeling, the best one yet."
Will.i.am expects the Peas to hit the road again "after February," when the group is rumored to be performing at the Super Bowl XLV halftime show -- although he would not confirm that.
The more than two-month lag will give fans a chance to soak up "The Beginning," which the Peas wrote and recorded while on tour in support of 2009's double-platinum "The E.N.D.," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and has sold 2.8 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Will.i.am says the two albums are tied together thematically by their hits, "I Gotta Feeling" from "The E.N.D." and "The Beginning's" first single, "The Time (Dirty Bit)," which samples "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" from the hit 1987 film "Dirty Dancing."
"If 'I Gotta Feeling' was about someone who went out and said, 'I have a feeling tonight's gonna be a good night,' what would that person say when they came back from that party? They're probably going to tell you, 'Wow, I had the time of my life,' and that's what 'The Time' is," will.i.am explains, but he adds that the overall message of "The Beginning" runs a bit deeper than that, too.
" 'The Beginning' is about taking ownership...of your life and not waiting for someone to give you the answers but to go out and search for those answers yourself," he says. "We're saying, 'Don't let the negativity rule you.' Sometimes going out and celebrating is a departure. It's a manifestation of your desire to live a happy life. Some people will say, 'What the f*** am I celebrating? I ain't got no job. I just got laid off. I got to pay for my mortgage. So what the hell is there to celebrate, Mr. Will.i.am?'
"Well," he continues, "you're celebrating the fact that you're alive and that you have a mind and that you know right from wrong. But you have to change your frequency. You have to change your outlook. You're never going to achieve anything positive if you're trapped in the negative. So what you're going out and celebrating is that one day that will change, and that's the beginning."
After performing "The Time (Dirty Bit)" at the American Music Awards on Nov. 21, the Peas will headline the Capital FM Jingle Ball on Dec. 4 at London's O2 Arena. The group's Fergie, meanwhile, will receive Billboard's Woman of the Year award at the 2010 Billboard Women in Music Event on Dec. 2 in New York City.