J. Cole – The Forum – Inglewood, CA

When it comes to my favorite artists, “obsessed” is a term that doesn’t begin to define the undeniable love that I have for them. The same rule applies for J. Cole (along with other Dreamville artists but lets not get off topic.)

When J. Cole started to surface again with releasing a documentary that included a few songs, to dropping an album that we (we, as in Dreamville fans) had no idea was coming; I knew it would only be a matter of time before tour dates would be announced. I was right! Come February it did get very scary & I couldn’t contain the pressure I had put upon myself to get the best seats I possibly can. Presale code & American Express card ready, I purchased my tickets & thought I had nothing else to worry about. Or so I thought…

One can say that I’m an expert when it comes to purchasing tickets. Friends contact me all the time for help about presale codes, legit websites, sale times, anything having to do with tickets and shows. But there’s one thing I’d never done before, which was buy VIP.

I was willing to pay the most to see J. Cole, but I also knew that I didn’t need to go into debt over it either. After all, his show was going to be at The Forum, a venue I know very well so I wasn’t worried about seating. The particular VIP package I purchased included a few “exclusive” items with a floor seat. In my excitement (and thinking I didn’t have to read the small print) I purchased two and started to celebrate! Then.. I got the confirmation e-mail.

It stated something along the lines “VIP tickets are will-call only. The person’s name who is on the card that was used to make the purchase must be present to pick up tickets.”

I shit you not, I shit a brick. I used my Dad’s American Express card to purchase the tickets! I always do, because American Express always has presale codes. But it’s never been a problem because the tickets are always sent to my house. Having never bought VIP before, I had no idea that these tickets were will-call only! Scared as hell I called ticket master right away and was on the phone for about 45 minutes waiting for someone to take my call… When they finally did, the guy explains to me that my Dad will have to go with me to pick up the tickets. (Mind you, I’m worried as hell because the show is on a Tuesday and it’s difficult enough for him to get a Saturday off.. Imagine a Tuesday!)

 I tell the guy on the phone, “Well, I don’t want the tickets then. Give me a refund & I’ll buy tickets tomorrow with the general public.”
“I’m sorry ma’am but VIP tickets are non refundable.”

I’m pissed. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do, but I won’t take this one guys word as my only answer… I call Ticketmaster again a few hours later & that person tells me as long as I have the credit card used to make the purchase, my receipt with the confirmation code, and a copy of my dad’s I.D., then I’ll be good.

I leave it at that. Fast forward to the day before the concert…

 I ask my Dad to please leave me his American Express Card because I need it to pick up the tickets. The next morning it’s there on the counter & I grab it to place it in my wallet along with my receipt & copy of his I.D. Then I notice something.. The last 4 digits on the receiptdon’t match the last 4 digits on the American Express card. At this point, I’m freaking out! I ask my Mom for her American Express Card and just my luck.. the digits match. I knew it was going to be a problem. I was holding back tears as I called Ticketmaster to see if there was anyway this problem can be fixed.

 30 minutes on hold and a woman answers me, I explain to her the situation & she says there’s no guarantee that I will be able to pick up the tickets because the venue is looking for the card with my Dad’s name to have the same 4 digits that are on my receipt.

At this point I’m in tears, explaining to her that I’ve been waiting MONTHS for this show, giving her thee biggest (yet realist) sob story I’ve ever told. She then tells me to call her back within an hour, that she’s going to e-mail the head of the VIP company & see what she can do. Slowest. Hour. Of. My. Life.

 The hour goes by and I call Ticketmaster again. I ask for the lady I talked to earlier and the guy says that’s not possible so.. I explain myself all over again. (While trying not to cry.)

When I finish the guy flat out tells me,

“The lady you spoke to shouldn’t have told you that. Do you have the credit card with the digits that’s on your receipt?”

“Yes.”

“That’s all you need.”

“You’re 100% sure? Because I’ve been crying all morning & I will cry at the venue if I can’t get my tickets.”

“I’m 100% sure.”
“Should I take both American Express Cards just in case?”

“If you want, but I guarantee you’ll be fine.”
*Crying happy tears* “Thank you so much! You just made my day!”
“Happy to help. Enjoy your show!”
(Lesson here is: I’m never buying VIP again. Always ask others just to be sure because you never know what answer you’re going to get.)

Finally after all that, I was relaxed enough to get ready. But I knew I wouldn’t be fully relaxed until I had the tickets in my hand. During all this, my concert buddy (Jimmy) was aware of what was going on and was thankful to hear that things should go fine.

We made it to the venue, made our way to the box office & got our tickets no problem. I was shaking as they handed me the tickets and I knew I was in the clear! I was able to fully be excited for the show! (Now for the good stuff!)

 The Forum is my favorite arena venue within the Los Angeles area. It’s small enough to have a great view no matter where one sits, as long as you’re not behind the stage. I can now say I’ve seen my favorite artists there such as Kanye West, 5 Seconds of Summer (Twice. Don’t judge me.), All Time Low, (and now) J. Cole.

For this tour he had artists that are signed to Dreamville Records as his openers and I couldn’t be happier. Being able to see Ari Lennox, J.I.D., and Bas again was awesome. (I actually ran into Ari while I was in line to buy merch!)

Ari Lennox voice never fails to sound amazing live, and with The Committee in the house Cozz was brought out to perform “Backseat” with her.

J.I.D. is always on another level when it comes to performing. Yes, I know this even though I’ve only seen him perform two songs before. (You can find out what I mean here.) His energy level goes up and down with ease and it’s amazing to see! It was a night full of special guests as J.I.D. brought out Earthgang.

Bas was the last of the openers to perform but didn’t disappoint as usual. He brought out Cozz as well and left the crowd with so much anticipation. Of course we new J. Cole was to come out next, but with the hype behind his performance of “Tabs” and “Nightjob”, we were on the edge of our seats. (You can see all the photos from the show here.)

 

J. Cole is my favorite artist for many reasons.. Not only is his lyricism amazing but each record he makes speaks to me in many ways. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t listen to one of his albums or mixtapes. Being able to see him live has always been an amazing experience. This would be my third time seeing him, but the first time seeing him with a decent view.

He was escorted by cops through the crowd wearing an orange jumpsuit to the stage that was at the center of the arena. It was truly an awesome set up and a great view for everyone. The stage was surrounded by barbed wire and lamp posts that had security cameras. Setting the tone and feel for what the album “4 Your Eyez Only” was set to portray.
It’s one thing to listen to an album and be able to truly feel the pain and emotion that an artist puts on the track, but it’s a completely different phenomenon to watch it come to life in front of you from start to finish.

When I first heard “4 Your Eyez Only” I could tell that Cole was in a different place. I knew that this album wouldn’t be understood by most no matter how good his wordplay would be. Although, I can honestly say I can’t relate to everything that he put into this album, I can’t deny the emotion I felt when listening to it. It truly puts the listener into the perspective of the main voice (if we can call it that) of the album. It’s a story of a man who’s going through life the only way he knows how, trying to survive. (If you haven’t had a chance to listen, take the time to do so. When I say listen, I mean really listen.)

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