Anderson .Paak Wows L.A. Audience with Happy Homecoming Forum Show

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Anderson .Paak performs at The Forum on June 29, 2019 in Inglewood, Calif.

“I had the best time of my life playing the Forum. I will be back,” declared a triumphant Anderson .Paak during the last night of his Best Teef in the Game tour in Los Angeles (June 29). And he did come back -- for two rollicking encores -- before finally wrapping a show that kept fans on their feet for two straight hours.   

An indefatigable .Paak didn’t want to leave the stage. Nor did the audience inside the sold-out Forum want him to leave. As if two encores weren’t enough, the singer-songwriter-musician threw in several guest surprises for good measure (more on that later) as he traversed a set list drawn from his beach-titled album series: Malibu, Oxnard, Venice and Ventura. He also proved without a doubt what a showman he’s become since opening Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour in 2016.   

Sitting astride his trusty drums on a platform that elevated him from behind a partition on the stage floor, .Paak and his band the Free Nationals unleashed a searing take on “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance” to open the proceedings. From that point on, .Paak had the audience at his beck and call as he alternately played the drums and sang or confidently strode/danced his way across the wide stage floor while energetically singing/rapping on crowd-pleasers such as “Come Down,” “King James,” “Tints” featuring Kendrick Lamar, “6 Summers,” “Might Be,” “Make It Better” featuring Smokey Robinson, “Trippy,” “Suede” and “Come Home.”   

.Paak introduced the first of five surprise guests, Lalah Hathaway, on “Reachin’ 2 Much.” Not content to perform the song onstage, he and Hathaway sang it while strolling around the lower perimeter of the venue as a sea of eager, phone-waving fans surged to touch their hands or take a photo.  

Additional surprises included Ty Dolla $ign (in a medley that included “Paranoid,” “Purple Emoji” and “Blasé”), BJ the Chicago Kid (on “The Waters”) during which .Paak saluted Nipsey Hussle and the one and only Too Short. The audience went nuts when the rapper launched into his classic “Blow the Whistle,” so much so that .Paak brought Too Short out again for a repeat performance.

“L.A., it’s so good to be back home, I can’t tell you,” shouted out .Paak at one point. “It feels like a festival inside this motherfucker.” The fun continued as the headliner gave his band the Free Nationals a chance to share the spotlight as they performed their own new single “Time,” which features Kali Uchis and the late Mac Miller.

After thanking his “mama, sisters, son, cousins” and other family members for being in the house, .Paak pulled out yet another surprise for his first encore: ScHoolboy Q on “Am I Wrong/Lite Weight.” Still not done, .Paak returned again, this time with the evening’s opening act Thundercat on the riveting Mac Miller track “Dang!” that features .Paak. Fittingly, before .Paak and the band took their final bows, the stage’s video screen backdrop flashed a photo of a smiling .Paak and Miller.

Arguably one of the best shows of 2019, .Paak’s performance was prefaced by the aforementioned Thundercat. The critically acclaimed musician-singer-songwriter set the tone for the evening’s main event with a rousing performance that included “A Fan’s Mail,” “Friend Zone” and “Them Changes.” He was followed by Earl Sweatshirt, whose show featured fan faves “December 24,” “The Bends” and “Azucar.” Early in his set, a wide-eyed Earl proclaimed, “What the fuck is going? We’re in the Forum… Oh my God!”

Holding down the Forum as the evening’s between-set hype man: 27-year L.A. fixture Tommy the Clown rocking his signature rainbow-colored giant Afro.The guiding force behind the clowning/krumping style of dance, Tommy brought along an entertaining troupe of dancers who will be performing at his forthcoming Battle Zone competition in L.A. (July 27).