The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Rave

April 8, 2013

Real troupers go the distance

Lupe Fiasco quickly expressed regret for abandoning the stage at Bucknell University on Friday night after getting a bad vibe from what he called a "messy sound setup."

In a series of Tweets, the Chicago-bred rapper, born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, apologized to students and staff, "Sorry, 1000 times and my team is taking steps to make sure this never happens again. I hope you enjoy the rest of the concert w/@3eb (Three Eye Blind) and have a great rest of the school year."

While not exactly in the "show must go on" tradition of stage performers, no one would wish a young entertainer riding a wave of success any injury that would sidetrack a career. (For irony's sake, "The Show Goes On" was the title of Lupe Fiasco's second top 10 hit, released in 2010, and his biggest hit to date, nominated for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 2012 Grammy Awards.)

Mr. Fiasco hatched his rap-ability in his parents' basement, developing an interest in hip-hop, but rejected its vulgarity and misogyny. He has a company that designs fashions, sneakers, toys, video games, comic books and graphics for album covers and skateboard decks.

He achieved some fame with a song about a skateboarder called "Kick, Push."

Fans were good sports, at least on Mr. Fiasco's Twitter account, wishing him all the best and offering high praise for his lyrics and rhythms.

Performers can be temperamental. Everybody has a bad day at the office. Still, the college circuit is a good gig. Appearance fees range from $15,000 to $75,000 a show before the contract specs for lighting, sound systems and hospitality expectations from certain performers.

When buttressed by student activity fees, these appearances need not rely strictly on draw and gate. It is standard for colleges and universities to lose money on any given concert, while creating a cultural opportunity for surrounding communities that they might not otherwise have.

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