It was the end of an era on June 12 as hip-hop masters Nelly and Baby Bash performed the final show in the Concerts In Your Car series.
The innovative concerts began in June 2020 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. CBF Productions came up with the concept of a drive-in concert in response to the shutdown of live music amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last season’s outdoor shows featured prominent names in several musical genres including Slightly Stoopid, Cypress Hill, Sublime, Snoop Dog, Tower of Power, Los Lobos, Fitz and The Tantrums, and Bush. This year’s shortened season also brought more heavyweights to Ventura including War, Hippie Sabotage and Ziggy Marley.
The last show was on a clear evening, the last spring weekend. A gentle, cool ocean breeze blew over the site from nearby Surfer’s Point. Hip hop fans arrived early and took in the sunset while enjoying several food trucks and a beer and wine stall.
Veteran California rapper Baby Bash opened with a fiery set that began as the sun set in the nearby mountains. As the sky became painted in pastel tones, the rapper ignited the crowd with some of his best-known tracks. The songs included tunes from the rapper’s debut album with a major label, “Tha Smokin ‘Nephew”. This gold record included his first hit, “Suga Suga”. The song had a large part of the crowd singing and dancing to the tune. The set included other hit singles such as “Baby, I’m Back” and her biggest hit and double platinum single, “Cyclone”. Baby Bash was joined on stage towards the end of the set by special guest Cota the Barber, who sang and played guitar.
As the sunset melted into the twilight, excitement in the crowd exploded when music fans spotted Nelly and her entourage being taken backstage. As the hip hop master hitmaker strolled across the stage and the four giant video screens projected Nelly’s image across the hall, a huge roar erupted as most of the fans got out of their cars to enjoy the show. Crowds even gathered at nearby Surfer’s Point, drawn to the massive video screens.
Nelly instantly filled the room with excitement, running to the four corners of the stage, engaging the audience in all directions. The prolific hitmaker has brought his repertoire that will appeal to his fans, including songs from his first solo album, “Country Grammar”. Her show also included some of her biggest hits, including “Ride wit Me”, “Dilemma”, “Hot in Herre” and “JusDream”. Nelly had longtime collaborator and member of the St. Lunatics, City Spud, who joined her on stage to crank up the energy levels.
It was a great start for a series that kept the music going live in Ventura during the pandemic.
CBF Productions will now return to its original mission of producing festivals. Its first event will be the Tequila & Taco Music Festival July 24-25 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. In addition to food and drink, the festival will feature old-school hip hop concerts featuring rapper Vanilla Ice and others. Click here for more information.
– L. Paul Mann is a contributing writer for Noozhawk. The opinions expressed are his own.