Chris Brown Can Do The Sh**T Without 50 Cent:Chris Brown brings the party for small, but excited, crowd at the X

Chris Brown brings the party for small,
Here’s the thing about Chris Brown, who headlined St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center Sunday night. He’s a talented guy. The Virginia native emerged in 2005 as a good-looking, Michael Jackson-loving teenager with a natural talent for both singing and dancing. His first two albums each went double-platinum and he scored a series of huge radio hits including 2008’s “Forever,” a song a St. Paul couple used for their wedding march, landing a viral YouTube hit in the process.

But the following year, Brown beat his then-girlfriend on the weekend the pair was set to appear at the Grammy Awards. A photo showing her brutal injuries hit the internet and it looked like Brown’s career was over. He apologized several times, and in 2013 the couple even briefly rekindled their romance. But while Brown swore it was a one-off incident, it turned out to be the first in a string of violent activity, run-ins with the law, jail time and rehab.

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And Brown’s troubles continue to this day. In February, his ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran filed a restraining order against him claiming he threatened her life. Just before the current tour kicked off last month, 50 Cent’s name mysteriously disappeared from the lineup amid rumors of a salary dispute.

(Fans entered the X on Sunday to signs alerting them ticket refunds were available due to 50 Cent’s absence.) And on Thursday, Brown’s name emerged in a Miami courtroom when federal agents testified that Brown deposited $15,000 into the bank account of a man on trial for drug dealing.

Brown has dubbed his current outing “The Party Tour” after his single of the same name. Sunday’s party started an hour later than planned, though, as the crowd enjoyed a series of rappers with Brooklyn’s Fabolous serving as the final opener before Brown took the stage at 10 p.m.

The high-tech, in-the-round stage clearly was designed to reach the far ends of the arena, but the crowd of more than 7,000 wasn’t even enough to fill the bottom of the X’s bowl, with the club and 200 levels completely dark. Brown has struggled to draw a Twin Cities crowd in the past. Two years ago, he was booked to headline Minneapolis’ Target Center, but the date was canceled, with Billboard reporting at the time only 3,500 tickets had been sold for a show that could have held more than five times that number. Still, those who did show up were clearly there for a good time and made plenty of noise when they weren’t dancing and cheering along.

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Brown started the show with “Wrist” while suspended from some rigging that occasionally lifted him up as he danced. More Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics followed from Brown’s impressive troupe of backup dancers. The sparse, wide-open stage served as a screen and showed various graphics timed to the beats and sometimes footage from Brown’s videos, like the racy “Privacy.”

Given all the flashing lights and booming bass, though, Brown did sometimes seem to get lost at his own party. There were some fun moments for sure – particularly “Time for Love” and “Ayo” – but ultimately it felt like Brown’s talent has gone to waste.

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