Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nelly Brings His Songs to Powell Hall with a St. Louis Symphony Twist

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nelly Brings His Songs to Powell Hall with a St. Louis Symphony Twist

Article excerpt

Rapper Nelly's music career is filled with firsts. He accomplished another one Friday night with a sold-out concert with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Hall on the same stage where he said he saw "The Nutcracker" as a child.

Aided not only by the symphony conducted by David Robertson but occasional drop-ins from rappers Ali and City Spud, Nelly delivered a 16-song, not entirely family-friendly career retrospective from his breakthrough hit, "Country Grammar," and far beyond.

"Can we shake our ass? I know we're in the (Powell) Hall right now," he said at one point, remaining true to himself throughout.

After a brief turn from the symphony that included "St. Louis Blues," Nelly and his small band took to the stage with the symphony to rapturous applause to the tune of his Grammy-winning hit "Shake Ya Tailfeather," abbreviated here as an introduction of what was to come.

And that would mostly be every Nelly hit you could think of, but with a twist.

"I'm glad to bring something different to the Lou on a whole other level," he said. "I'm going to run through St. Louis history as far as Nelly goes."

This show, the fifth of Nelly's collaborations with various cities' orchestras, showed how instantly comfortable Nelly appears to be in this new format on songs such as "E.I.," "Air Force Ones," "Ride Wit Me," "Move That Body," "Body on Me" and "Bottles," a new song he said was being performed for the first time in St. Louis.

His repertoire, for whatever reasons, lent itself to these symphonic arrangements quite well.

The show was a great example of the point that almost anything can be enhanced with some orchestration behind it.

Nelly was in excellent hands , and he knew it, calling the symphony one of the best in the world. He referred to the good- natured Robertson as a "homie."

"They make it sound easy. They make it sound like I know what I'm doing," he quipped. …

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