Billboard Hot 100 2015 Festival Day 2 Recap: Skrillex, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj Shine
Day 2 of the first ever inaugural Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival. Legs are starting to feel a little heavier, our eyes tired, but that is all part of the fun. After wrapping up day one with The Weeknd, Lil Wayne, Jason Derulom, Axwell Ingrosso and others, we launch into day 2 that will bring out star power with Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Skrillex, Kygo and others.
Day 1 was a success despite the few minor glitches that come with a first time festival. We were looking forward to the second day and getting out into the Jones Beach Amphitheater out on the water.
Arriving early on, here is what we saw....
1:40 - We arrive on site and it is another hot, beautiful day for a festival. Sweat beads are forming on our forehead and people are taking shelter from the sun anywhere they can, including under the VIP bleachers at the Samsung Stage.
2:30 - A constant during day 2, technical difficulties, delay the X Ambassadors about 7 minutes. They play "Renegade" as the second to last tune and the crowd starts to thin. They were good performers, but when you have one huge single, play it last, especially at a pop music festival.
2:50 - Wrap up chatting with Matoma in the media tent. This wild Norwegian's tour sounds like it will be pretty lit.
3:00 - It's the time that all the trap queens have been waiting for - Fetty Wap. The Beach Stage is overflowing out of the back and Wap brings almost as many people on stage. It appears as though all of Paterson is up there with him and in reality he should have been on the Hot 100 stage, but when he was booked, nobody could have guessed how big he has gotten.
3:30 - Fetty Wap just wrapped up his half hour set by doing "Trap Queen" twice after the first time had to get shut down when two girls got hurt in a rush to the stage. His set was hot and cold. The crowd went wild for "My Way," "679" and "Trap Queen," but the other cuts that seemed to be "My Way" copies glossed right over everyone. He will have to prove a lot with the album on Sept. 25.
4:00 - The Chainsmokers have quite possibly the biggest crowd of the weekend at the Samsung Stage. EDM was light on Sunday, so they delivered the goods with a mix of pop vocals, Spinnin' Records-styled deep house from the likes of Jauz and big, booming festival tunes by themselves and others. It was time to wake up and they did just that.
4:30 - After Wiz Khalifa's little situation at LAX, the hoverboard is a hot topic of conversation. There were nearly a dozen yesterday, but only one today. Next to said hoverman was a rather unconvincing Nicki Minaj look-a-like.
The crowd might even be a little younger today. This will be interesting.
4:40 - It was time to get tropical with Matoma and as we showed up we were confused that we were at the wrong stage. We caught the first 10 minutes of him and the Norwegian was playing soothing summer house and now 45 minutes later he has given into big room festival tunes for a lazy 20-minute interlude. He finishes off with his Biggie remix, as well as another for the big man and "Stay With Me" from Enrique Iglasias and Sean Paul. This is what we came here for.
5:15 - We get a glimpse inside the artist yacht thanks to The Chainsmokers and their team. I think I have enough free sour patch kids to feed a small army from going on there. Free drinks are also nice.
5:30 - It is Kygo time and the entire Amphitheater is packed. There are no seats left in the 15,000 capacity venue. This created issues for the 23,000 on hand as there were more ticket holders then there were seats, so if you left your spot in the theater (all seats were GA), then you were out possibly for good.
6:24 - Justin Bieber walks down the ramp stage left and the entire side of the crowd starts screaming just as Kygo thanks the crowd for their time with him. Not sure if he knew they weren't cheering for him.
6:30 - Kygo brought the heat - as in literally a massive amount of pyro with stage production that rivaled Axwell /\ Ingrosso the previous night. The man has a presence on stage that is captivating despite playing pretty simple DJ sets, transitioning from one song to the next. His movements and hand gestures come straight from the Avicii school of DJ movements. We might have lost some facial hair trying to get pics of him in the photo pit.
The producer rinses out remixes for the likes of Journey, La Roux and Marvin Gaye, as well as some unreleased originals, mixed in his new ones. He caps things off with "Firestone" featuring live vocals of Conrad, who was in town performing at the Hot 100 Fest the day before.
7:20 - Kiesza is one of the most anthletic people in the business. Her hand stands are ridiculous.
8:15 - Nicki was delayed a half an hour because of technical difficulties, which persisted during her set, but she rocked the crowd. Looking up at the arena, she let the fans sing nearly whole songs and all 15,000 did anything she asked in unison. It was impressive to see that much crowd control from an artist have so much trouble trying to perform.
Her set hit on the big career moments with tracks like "Starships," "Hey Mama" and "Superbass," though her singing during a few of them was light. She is given her full allotment of time to 8:10, which is odd considering that most sets were cut 10-15 minute short before their advertised set time.
9:30 - Skrillex drops is hard on the still packed amphitheater. The change over from Nicki Minaj to Skrillex and then back to Justin Bieber is a bit jarring sonically, but they make it work.
Moore mixes in tracks familiar to his set from hip-hop that jive with the pop-oriented crowd like the "Work" remix and "Trap Queen." For the first 45 minutes he seems to think we are in New Jersey, constantly calling on the crowd for recognition of some jersey club.
He brings out some big production with fireworks, crazy animation for visuals, fireworks, Co2 and lasers. The crowd is really into it, even the heavy dubstep, despite being a more pop crowd.
9:50 - After moving Skrillex's DJ booth further back, Bieber and his six dancers appear. The shrill screams from thousands of teenage girls still ring in my ears. The man started with some jams like "Boyfriend," "As Long As You Love Me" and "Beauty and a Beat." Nicki Minaj is nowhere to be found, which was pretty disappointing considering she performed just an hour and a half earlier.
He has technical difficulties of his own with a mic that keeps on giving him feedback. So as that was being dealt with several times, Bieber spoke to the crowd, letting everyone know how much he has missed New York. Later on he implored fans to put down their phones and live in the moment. "You watching the show or through your cameras" he asked. It was a good message to deliver to his fan base that is primarily made up of teenage girls who always have their cell phone in hand no matter what.
The Canadian brings things down with some of his slower acoustic ballads and then that DJ booth was put to use one last time as he and Skrillex did what they promised - performed "Where Are Ü Now" together once again to finish off the entire festival.
— SKRILLEX (@Skrillex) August 24, 2015
We leave the grounds with big smiles having seen two of the biggest pop stars perform one of the hottest songs in the world right now. Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival 2015 is in the books and beyond some technical difficulties and a few other kinks, the festival went off very well. They have already plotted next year's festival and we hope to be back.
10:45 - The bus situation is much better tonight and the lines for shuttles is much more manageable for the thousands who will take them. At the exits there were quite a few parents clearly there to pick up their kids. That is dedication.