Live: The 106 & Park Tour Stops At Irving Plaza, Goes On Forever

The 106 & Park Tour: Diggy Simmons, Mindless Behavior, Lil Twist & Tyga
Irving Plaza
Thursday, July 28

Better than: a night spent without screaming.

It's like a horror movie: I can still hear their screams. When I close my eyes, all I hear is screams.

BET's 106 & Park is an after-school music video request show; a TRL with no real demographic other than "black." It skews toward young girls, but you wouldn't know that by the videos they play; right now, one can vote for clips by artists ranging from the prepubescent Jawan Harris to bullet-throwing Ace Hood; from New Boyz to grown-up Beyoncé; from churchgoing Mary Mary to ancient E-40. One can't imagine Meek Mill's audience waiting, waiting, waiting, oh it's still ringing, hold on, hold on, oh my gosh, yes, the line's finally clear, oh my gosh, and then voting for "Tupac Back," but somehow Meek Mill gets on the countdown. (Or maybe record companies just have a direct line to the phone bank. Yeah, that's probably it.)

The 106 & Park concert series is far more focused. It is a night for girls who like boys but aren't quite sure what to do with them; tweens so confused by the changes in their bodies that they can do nothing but scream when a boy looks in their direction. Just the idea of a boy paying notice is enough to make them flip out, and the boys onstage—older or younger, but much more aware—are experts at manipulation. If there's ever a lull in the show (and believe me, there are many), they know that the quickest fix is to flash just the slightest bit of the lower half of a stomach. Girls go nuts for that shit.

Diggy Simmons, poised far beyond his years, looked out from beyond the stage for "the one." Girls screamed as he and a security guard conferred for three whole minutes. Girls never stopped screaming. He finally invited a fan onstage, giving her a bouquet of roses, placing her in a folding chair. He sang to the crowd, he sang to her. They locked eyes and, just as he was about to kiss her on the cheek, she buried her face in her hands and cried, uncontrollable. He settled, aiming a peck at her unlined forehead. She cried some more, leaving a puddle of tears, sweat and hormones where she sat.

But if girls walked into the 106 & Park concert as just that—girls—they left as women. Look no further than the headliner, Tyga—a bad boy in the loosest sense since Jay Electronica. Or actually, look no further than "Keke," a stunner with her shoulders back who Tyga pulled up from the crowd. "Keke" had been dressed in a tight white dress that recalled Basic Instinct; they spooned while standing up, with Tyga so overwhelmed by either her curves or how much he was paying her that he sometimes forgot to sing. The song ended; she disappeared stage right, never to be seen again. A lesson for girls: boys could be played with, too.

It wasn't just tight pants and folding chairs, though! There were four hours of screaming to be exhausted; a marathon of a nightmare with eyes held open and ears left unplugged. Mindless Behavior, a group of 13-year-olds dressed in Janet Jackson's leftovers, performed intricate dance moves and challenged the idea that boys only want one thing. These boys want nothing to do with that one thing! Keep that one thing away! They just like to vogue, even if they have to sing love songs to do so: "We're from two different worlds... but girl, I've got a future." Jesus. At least hold a girl's hand before you propose! Soft doesn't even describe these four. Ciara came out during their set; she was more of a man than they were.

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