It turned out to be a beautiful day for an outdoor concert festival.
Mercurial Mother Nature -- and the forecast for hail-ridden storms the night before -- had forced organizers to push the music inside for Saturday's Boom 94.5 music festival, subtitled The Evolution of Hip-Hop.
The idea was borne of necessity, but it was a good one. The Fair Park Coliseum's doors were wide open, letting in air and a vibe that one can only get from a big summertime family reunion cookout.
Vendors were outside, with everything from Metro PCS to Mint Dentistry offering information and swag. And other vendors had wares for sale that included Kool-Aid pickles from Tatyanna Pickle Palace; daishikis from Negasi Fashions; and cook-to-order barbecue, catfish, crawfish and crabs.
It was seriously Texas outside, with the sun high in the sky. It was seriously Texas inside, too, as DSR filled the stage for an arena that was about a quarter full, with people streaming in and out because of the easy access. The music portion of the festival was as close to outdoors as it could be.
The key word was "easy."
If you wanted to go outside, no problem. If you wanted to get close to the stage, no problem. If you wanted to take a seat away from the noise, no problem. (When I went outside, I felt like Ponyboy at the beginning of The Outsiders.)
DJs killed time between sets inside and the music never stopped outside, either, thanks to a tent blasting the sponsoring radio station to people taking a break from the break. People were dancing in both places, too. And eating. And registering to vote.
The music was divided into sections: Texas Connection, which featured DSR; The Women of Hip-Hop; The Legends of Hip-Hop; Louisiana Mix and Old-School House Party; and a No Limit Reunion. Organizers had to expect the crowd to try to conserve its energy with a show that began at 2 with a schedule like this, efficient thought it was.
And it did, reserving its first genuine excitement for when Monie Love introduced her “West coast sister YoYo,” who dedicated a song to her cousins in Nacogdoches, Texas, where she said was born. The crowd reserved its first singalong for Da Brat, who is hard as ever and almost lost her baggy pants onstage.
Each set amounted to a highlight reel.
And the artists still making new music gave a shout-out to those songs.
Big Daddy Kane opened the Legends portion of the show, ending his usual high-energy set with "Ain’t No Half Stepping." Kurtis Blow, in his customary all-white attire, preached and offered a come-to-Jesus moment at the side of the stage after his set. Some took him up on his offer of salvation; unfortunately, Whodini upended all of that by opening with "I'm a Ho" at the same time.
(In case anyone wondered, at this point there were three shout-outs to deceased Jam Master Jay and one tribute for Prince.)
The group's timing was fine the rest of the time. Especially "5 Minutes of Funk," which still plays as well today as it did 30-odd years go, making anyone understand how some concertgoers stood the entire time when there were plenty of seats in coliseum.
The breaks between acts were long enough that people could go outside and enjoy the aroma from the vendors and rest their ears.
And the charging stations provided by MetroPCS were a godsend to many frantically searching for power after shooting so much video. (One can only hope they didn't miss Tiffany Jackson-Jones, there on her birthday and in an official capacity as a member of the WNBA Dallas Wings, which starts its season this month. Or Dallas City Council member Tiffini A. Young, who helped introduce Master P.)
But the sound of No Limit's soldiers coming to the stage had people marching back into the coliseum. Mia X, missed the most on the airwaves, kicked it off, and she was followed by a lackluster set from Silkk the Shocker. And then, as host D Elli$ said, the audience got a rapper "10 notches higher," with the showman Mystikal, who did abbreviated versions of hits he was a part of and some of his own.
And then there was Master P, who was joined on the stage by all his No Limit soldiers for a few of the record label's hits.
He ceded the stage to protege MoeRoy a good bit of the time because, as he said, he's "about the future."
Boom 94.5 was way ahead of him, with an eye on coming events. The station named what is to be an ongoing award for the D.O.C., who was honored that night as the first recipient of the station's Hip-Hop Legend Award. Its heavy hitters served as hosts, and the second outing was bigger and longer than its first year in 2015.
There were tired smiles as people filed out of the venue, some still humming favorite songs they had been reminded of. Satisfied customers mean repeat business. And that can only mean that the Boom Music Festival is well on its way to becoming a highlight of the spring festival season.