On Sat. Oct 1, R&B sensation Nelly took the stage at LBJ lawn to hype up a frenzied crowd of students and football fans camped out for tailgating and celebrating prior to the Texas vs. West Virginia game that kicked off later that evening. While Longhorn fans nervously awaited the much-anticipated match, Nelly raised spirits with a showcase of some beloved throwback hits.
As part of the free concert series Longhorn City Limits, the show sparked school spirit and enthusiasm from football and music lovers alike. As an Austinite himself, Nelly seemed to have an almost personal stake in promoting UT football, which showed in his vibrant outdoor performance. Many vendors accompanied the live music, including Austin favorite Stubb’s Barbeque. Alongside the music, attendees enjoyed barbecue, beverages and the opportunity to have their photo taken in front of the LCL guitar monument that corners the LBJ lawn.
Nelly riled up fans with a few of his 2000s classics, including “Hot in Herre,” “Ride Wit Me” and “Dilemma.” The crowds crammed tightly across the sloping field, bouncing along to his music and reciprocating Nelly’s own enthusiasm and energy, incorporating both rapping and singing into his set. While many attendees knew the rapper’s biggest hits word for word, even newcomers danced along and enjoyed the rapper’s magnetic stage presence.
Austin-based alternative R&B musician Jake Lloyd joined the performance, resulting in an unexpected but dynamic pairing. As a duo, the two crafted blended tracks of rap, hip-hop and alternative rock, as well a conglomeration of other genres for the audience to enjoy. Lloyd dazzled the crowd with powerful live vocals alongside a full band.
While the decision to include other artists made for a surprising twist, the crowd responded well thanks to the fun-loving energy of the setlist and venue. Nelly’s conversational interactions with the audience as well as the two musicians’ enthusiasm generated excitement throughout the hyped-up crowd.
Nelly’s voice rose over the hill to the massive lines stretching out of the gates where students waited eagerly for the game. Audience members rose their hands above their heads and danced along to Nelly’s voice reverberating from the stage. His enthusiasm, as well as the towering speakers, raised school spirits and brought volume to the crowds before the game where Texas would win 38 to 20. The R&B sensation kicked off the evening with a series of dancing, barbecue and 2000s classics — an early success for a victorious night of Longhorn football.