SARATOGA SPRINGS — “This may be the other side of New York, but this is still New York, OK? So it’s still my city. So that means y’all are my Day Ones,” declared acclaimed Bronx-based rapper Cardi B on Friday, Sept. 6.
Cardi B’s Femme It Forward tour finally stopped over at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center that night, having originally been scheduled for May but was postponed. Despite the longer wait and massive hype around her discography, her concert lasted just a hair over 50 minutes, making it a curiously short evening.
Much of her performances stemmed from her 2018 debut album, “Invasion of Privacy,” which had received critical and commercial acclaim; it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 255,000 album copies and has since sold over three million copies. It also received several Grammy nominations including Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album this past February. Cardi B’s robust public image, controversial disposition and string of signature hits further catapulted her into the international spotlight, having achieved three number-one songs on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first female rapper to log in multiple chart-topping songs.
For the Saratoga concert, she was preceded by two opening acts — Nicole Bus, a Netherlands-based vocal powerhouse and Teyana Taylor, a rising Harlem-hailing singer whose displays of Janet Jackson-like raw sensuality, female empowerment and jaw-dropping choreography sent the venue wild.
Cardi B herself only sported one baby blue outfit throughout the night although she notably kicked her platform boots off after a number of songs at the beginning, which enabled her to get more engaging with the excited audience and not care about being barefoot. But that is what makes Cardi B such an attractive celebrity in the music industry as she unashamedly curses, twerks and sticks her tongue out — a fresh sight in an era dominated by politically-correct discourse and impossibly-high expectations on celebrities by the public.
Opening with “Get Up 10” and “Backin’ it Up,” the audience immediately melted into a screaming and jumping blur while strobe lights lit the dark venue and Cardi B’s DJ kept hyping them up. The rapper herself displayed sheer stage presence among her scantily-clad background dancers.
Cardi B’s undoubtable love for wealth permeated the night, like her performance of “Money Bag” which included visuals of a cartoon version of the rapper with loud white sunglasses, jewelry and raining dollar bills. Gold was another obvious sign of wealth as she posed over a gold ATV for her “Motorsport” performance, a song she originally sang with Migos and Nicki Minaj; she joked that she still neither knows how to drive a vehicle or have a driver’s license though. She also stood confidently over a gold pyramid-like staircase as an all-consuming catharsis enveloped the crowd who were evidently happy that a major musician was performing in the Capital District.
Despite having released one studio album so far, Cardi B showcased how successful she has been with collaborations since 2018, like “Finesse” with Bruno Mars and “Girls Like You” with Maroon 5. She performed shortened versions of those songs which still entertained the audience, a reminder of how she genuinely exploded on the music scene in just the last two years.
Her loud personality helped make all her numbers shine, including “Money” and “Drip” where the crowd knew the lyrics and joined along as she strutted onstage. She also often maintained her blunt sense of humor as she encouraged the audience to sing “karaoke” with her and even made a shout-out to “all my bad b**ches. Oh and all my ugly b**ches too.”
Signs of the concert being a short one first showed when she sang a brief impromptu “goodbye” song. She then performed one of the night’s more notable numbers, “Bartier Cardi,” where she fluidly rapped the lyrics as she strutted along the stage’s edge. She ended the night, without an encore, with her iconic smash hit, “Bodak Yellow” where the audience were unsurprisingly the loudest as they echoed the oh-so-familiar lyrics back at her.
After briefly leaving the stage amid animated pyrotechnics, floating confetti and sheer applause, she quickly ran back to twerk one last time, much to the audience’s unadulterated joy. She declared that despite the concert happening far from New York City, it was still among her most memorable tour stops and she laughed before finally departing.
As the venue’s lights came on, numerous raised eyebrows and confused expressions were evident on people’s faces as they wondered why the concert was short, since it did not even last a whole hour. Regardless, Cardi B put on a memorable night of catchy musical numbers, fierce rapping lyrics and mind-numbing twerking sessions, which may have left everyone wanting more. Perhaps it was her way to invite the public to come to another concert of hers soon.