By Troy Hasselman, July 11 2019 —
Music legend, autotune pioneer and hook-singing MVP of the 2000s T-Pain left his mansion in Wiscansin and made his way further north this week for an at-capacity show at the Calgary Stampede’s Coca-Cola stage this past week. Bringing in a solid dose of nostalgia the Stampede to go along with the two-stepping, midway rides and innumerable Hot Cheetos themed food items, T-Pain entrained with hit after hit.
The audience, drunk on a combination of Bud Light Radlers and nostalgia, danced along as he ran through “Good Life,” “Low,” “All I Do Is Win,” “Buy You a Drink” and countless other songs familiar to anyone who has set foot in a bar or house party since he came onto the scene in the mid-2000s.
As shown by his famous 2014 NPR tiny desk concert, T-Pain is an amazing singer. Autotune is wrongly derided by so many as a means of masking the shortcomings of talentless vocalists rather than a tool to add another level of texture to a song. Those vocals were on full-display at the Coca-Cola stage as he effortlessly navigated the high and low notes of his songs sans autotune.
The set was interrupted about halfway through as a Stampede-goer in a rodeo shirt rushed from the audience and unplugged some of T-Pain’s equipment and ran across the stage before being tackled to the ground by six security guards and dragged away. T-Pain joked that the person was only trying to give him his demo and got back into belting out hits. Technical difficulties would continue for the remainder of the set unfortunately as a result of the tampering and the cut out during T-Pain’s remix of Desiigner’s “Panda”. Unperturbed he finished the song acapella and showed off his underrated skills as a rapper, and not just a singer.
The staggering amount of songs that T-Pain ran through that have reached levels of ubiquity to become touchstones of the time their time was hammered home in his hour-long set that could’ve been twice as long with him still not playing anything unrecognizable. The audience fully lost it at songs that were well over ten years old in some cases, taking them back to when everyone had the I Am T-Pain App downloaded to their iPod touch and his hooks dominated the airwaves. It was almost touching to see that this figure who was so dominant during the childhood of myself and so many others is still playing, still sounds great and still enjoys it.