Team Breezy, Chris Brown’s fan base, is as loyal as they come. When TIDAL X announced a free pop up show for Brown, eager fans flocked to 34th St and populated the sidewalk outside of The Manhattan Center on Wednesday night (Oct. 25), hours before the show’s door was scheduled to open at 8:00 pm. Brown posted a series of photos showing the line outside the famed New York venue, which extended well beyond the line of black gates barricading the antsy crowd — but a long line and tedious security checks were the least of Team Breezy’s concerns.
Perched on a mini black stage in the venue’s grand ballroom was DJ Carmilo, one of Hot 97’s resident DJs and the man responsible for pumping up the crowd for the singer, who would later hit the stage well over an hour past his scheduled set time.
The Columbian DJ’s catalog was ripe with Caribbean classics including Sean Paul’s “Deport Dem” and “Like Glue” as well as recent summer hits “Fever” from Vybz Kartel and Mr. Vegas’ “Blessed.” By the time the night’s host, DC Young Fly, stepped on the stage to introduce Brown to his already-eager crowd, Camilo had delved into his archive to pull out mid-00s hits “Yas Bitch” by Soulja Boy and Roscoe Dash’s “All The Way Turned Up” — the latter proving to be a fitting precursor to the party that would transpire later on in the night.
At exactly 10:45, Brown, clad in all black, strolled onto the stage, full of energy and kicked off his career-spanning 40-minute set with “Ayo.” Backed by a phalanx of dancers, the singer powered through the high-energy tune, often taking a breather from singing to indulge in some of the impressive choreography that’s become his signature throughout his 13-year career.
“Can we just have fun tonight?” Brown asked his fans as he segued into his more recent tracks like his collaboration with Future on “Pie” and Gucci Mane’s “Tone It Down.” With the energy levels already at their highest, Brown picked the perfect moment to treat fans to his early hits off his self-titled debut. Taking the stage unaccompanied this time, Brown had a sly grin plastered on his face as the melody for “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” blared through the speakers. Despite Brown giving the 2005 cut a 2017 trap update, fans bellowed back every line of the singer’s cut with glee.
“Poppin” also received a modern-day trap treatment as his female dancers accompanied him on stage and seductively danced around him. As the night hit the halfway mark, the “Back to Sleep” crooner reserved the latter half of his show for his most recent singles and a few of New York’s hometown heroes.
After leading the crowd through the sultry “Privacy,” Brown brings out the first guest on his list: Harlem native Dave East, who joined his “brother” to perform their collab “Perfect.” Next up was Fabolous, who blazed through the Brown-assisted “She Wildin” before the pair unleashed their latest team-up “Flipmode.”
More adrenalized than before, Brown and all his dancers stormed the stage to turn Manhattan Center into a “Party.” With vibrant colors lights bouncing around the stage, the “Privacy” singer and his crew unleashed the choreography from the “Party” video despite Brown’s dance-off partner Usher missing in action.
Brown continued to dish out his collection of hits and ripped through “Pills and Automobiles” — the penultimate track of the night — and brought out his last guest, Yo Gotti. While Gotti isn’t a New York native, the Memphis rapper received a warm welcome from the NYC crowd as they belted out screams when he emerged on the stage. After delivering his “Pills & Automobiles” verse, it was only right to treat the crowd to his most recent and newly-minted platinum single “Rake It Up.”
Breezy pop-locked across the stage and even hopped onto a black speaker nestled in the corner of the venue and continued to Milly Rock and gyrate to the bouncy, club anthem. And before capping off his set with “Questions,” Brown took a moment to offer his fans a few words of encouragement, thanking them for their support.
“In all honesty, I’m gonna ask a question because everybody has fucked up days,” he says before asking fans to raise their hands if they’ve ever felt like giving up. Reflecting on his own success, the singer said, “Whatever you put your mind to, whatever you want to do; if it has good intent and it’s natural, this shit gon’ happen like this every time.”