Nelly strode onto the Pageant's stage, gazed at the adoring crowd and smiled like a man who was king of all he surveyed. Then, aided by his crew the St. Lunatics, the man who put St. Louis hip-hop on the map proceeded to drop hit after hit, from "Shake Ya Tailfeather" to "Air Force Ones." When he finally paused to address the audience, he waxed nostalgic, looking around at his friends onstage and asking, "This the first time we all been onstage together since, what, '99? Damn...!" Indeed, with City Spud making his first appearance since being released after an eight-year stretch behind bars, it was a true rap reunion. And nearly a decade after "Country Grammar" became the biggest thing out of St. Louis since "Johnny B. Goode," it was also an opportunity to reflect on how much Nelly and his cohorts changed the face of St. Louis music. Plagued by sound problems, this wasn't Nelly's most polished performance, but it may have been his most emotional. After his microphone cut out for a second time, he nearly called it quits in favor of the afterparty at Skybox. Then, thinking better of it, he said, "Since we're in the crib, we'll give it another try. We're at home."
© 2018 Riverfront Times