‘Stand Up!’: Ludacris rocks A&O Ball in Chicago

Hip-hop artist Ludacris performs at the A&O Ball on Saturday night. The event was held at the Riviera Theater in Chicago.

Mariam Gomaa/Daily Senior Staffer

Hip-hop artist Ludacris performs at the A&O Ball on Saturday night. The event was held at the Riviera Theater in Chicago.

Deontae Moore, Reporter

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The bass blared and strobe lights hit the stage Saturday night at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago as rapper Ludacris and his band performed for A&O Ball.

The Atlanta emcee, backed by hype man Lil Fate, performed classics such as “What’s Your Fantasy” from his debut album “Back for the First Time.” He repeatedly asked whether his “real fans” were in the building, and a screaming crowd often responded.

Ludacris tested students by performing a song from each of his studio albums, including “Rollout,” “Stand Up” and “How Low.” He also rapped his featured verses on hit songs “All I Do Is Win” and “Break Your Heart.”

Although he did not know exact numbers, outgoing A&O chairman Logan Koepke said this year’s A&O Ball sold twice as many tickets as last year’s event, when rapper Method Man and electronic duo Major Lazer came to the Riviera.

Saturday’s show started slowly as some students trickled into the theater while the first act started. That didn’t stop opening act Two-9 from getting the audience excited before Ludacris hit the stage: Students crowd-surfed and danced around through most of their tracks.

“Everyone was really into the Two-9 set,”  said A&O spokesman Andrew Griesemer, a McCormick senior. “A lot of people went into (it) not knowing a whole lot about them. It was jammin’, and it was a lot of fun to watch.”

Ludacris came on stage shortly after 9 p.m., just as his disc jockey encouraged the crowd to chant “Luda.”

“Everyone knows a lot of his songs. There was almost a nostalgic appeal to it,” said A&O spokeswoman Shelly Tan, a Medill junior. “Ludacris really played well with the crowd.”

Communication junior Ashley Mills agreed Ludacris’ interaction with the crowd pumped her up. The rapper asked a lot of questions to keep students engaged throughout the set.

“He had everyone hyped, and the show was really interacting,” Mills said. “Two-9 was cool. I wasn’t sure who they were, but I still enjoyed their performance.”

A&O cited good planning and marketing as reasons for the show’s success. Koepke talked about the process of putting on large production, from marketing the show to the 12 to 14 runners who got people where they needed to be during the concert.

“I’m happy with how everything ended up this year,” Koepke said. “It went perfectly. The overall goal for most A&O programming is for Northwestern students to have fun with our entertainment … whether it’s a show at the Riviera or a comedian that we are bringing.”

A&O spokeswoman Rosalind Mowitt said the concert was one of her favorite moments while working in student productions at NU.

“Luda killed it!” the Weinberg junior said.

Check out our photo gallery from the show: https://dailynorthwestern.com/2013/04/28/multimedia/photo-gallery-ludacris-rocks-ao-spring-show/