THE PARTY: American Express Unstaged: Pharrell
THE PLACE: The Apollo Theater, Harlem
THE DEETS: Ain’t no party like a Pharrell party, because a Pharrell party is soundtracked by hit, after hit, after hit. Last night in Harlem, the G I R L aficionado made his Apollo Theater debut as part of American Express’ Unstaged concert series in a high-impact, hour-long set directed by New York’s own Spike Lee.
While the mad hatter left an imprint on 2013 thanks to groundbreaking collaborations with the likes of Daft Punk and Robin Thicke, he proved that we love the Neptunes producer, turned N.E.R.D frontman, turned solo star, just as much for his career’s earliest hits. After opening the show with “Lose Yourself to Dance,” Pharrell took us back with 2000’s “I Just Wanna Love U (Give it to Me)” by Jay Z, 2002’s “Pass the Courvoisier” featuring a surprise cameo from Busta Rhymes, that same year’s “Hot in Herrre” by Nelly, 2004’s “She Wants to Move,” and 2005’s “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani—all testaments to his spectacular production prowess.
Humble as ever, Pharrell took the moment to not only applaud his band (“Put the spotlight on my bass player, too. He’s better than me”), and dance troupe known lovingly as Dear Baes, but those who believed in him years ago. “I want to thank my man Rob Walker for bringing me into this business. He’s from Harlem,” Pharrell shared, before also thanking Tammy Lucas, who helped hone his writing skills.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Pharrell hour if he didn’t include a rendition of last year’s song of the summer, “Blurred Lines.” T.I. joined him on the AmEx stage for the performance, marking the night’s second surprise set. After interposing tracks from his current album, like “Marilyn Monroe” and “Lost Queen,” with his past work, like “Beautiful” and “Lapdance,” Pharrell ended on a high, and “Happy” note.
“This is the world-famous Apollo,” Pharrell shared. “I can’t believe I’m here... I just want to take advantage of every second right now and thank you to American Express for making this happen.”
We send them our thanks, too, Skateboard P.