The shrieking washed through Avalon in a solid wave of 14 year-old girls wearing short dresses from Forever 21 and boys whose bright sneakers gleamed in the darkness like the eyes of ghosts trailing sparkly wallet chains.
Chris Brown's Fan Appreciation show last Wednesday was morally tormenting. I wanted to "Run it Run it" on the dancefloor as I have in my car, but I worried about the kids. Avalon was packed. Why were they here?!? The children are our future, and I wanted America to punish him and teach them a lesson. Instead, the human capacity for compassion (or corporate desire for $$$) enabled these kids to forgive Brown, for booty shaking's sake at least.
"People make mistakes," a ninth grader told me in the bathroom. "And he's a great performer," said her little sister, smoothing on lipgloss.
That much is true. The guy can dance, and every teen needs sexy icons to pave the road to her illustrious first time with fantasies--which, of course, will turn out exactly how it's described in R&B pop songs: "Let me show you/Let me do it to you like I wanna do/Wooahhh..." Brown sang in "Take You Down" and leaped into a one arm handstand over an imaginary bed.
He performed radio favorites "Kiss Kiss" and "Poppin," shedding clothing layers into the sea of camera phones. "No one screams like that when I take my shirt off," said my friend doing the tootsie roll and spilling her cocktail. A Michael Jackson medley included plenty of spinning point & thrusts. Brown lip-sang "Rock With You" and did the "Thriller" dance. During his hour-long set, he smiled pearly and flexed his abs, popped, locked, and brushed his shoulders off, never missing a note or losing his breath--unless he took air breaks when he lip-sang songs.
Opener New Boyz at least put out a positive message about family values. They had their baby brothers on stage dancing up a knee-shaking, crotch-grabbing storm, then hugged and kissed them before walking off stage. The 17 year old duo's set erupted with shirt-ripping during "You're A Jerk." Trampled girls had to be pulled over the barrier. Even the old ladies in the room couldn't help getting down to that lolli-licking beat.
I would've liked some sort of redeeming apology maybe from Chris Brown. "Kids, I've made some big mistakes. Always remember to learn from your mistakes and become better." But after he hit the last note, he slithered off, lights went on, children piled into limousines waiting outside, and went to the afterparty in their underage dreams.
[Ed.'s Note: More Appreciating Fans and pictures where Chris Brown looks menacing, even though he's just singing and dancing and the camera just caught him making threatening-seeming gestures that are just probably part of his dance routines, but, see, musicians--this is another reason why YOU SHOULD NEVER BEAT UP YOUR GIRLFRIEND: people won't be able to look at innocent pictures like this and not think about what you did!]
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