It's exhilarating when an artist as good as Lil Wayne does whatever he wants, even when you don't want everything he does. So Tha Carter III (Universal Motown) has all the splattering ebullience of the high schools it ruled in 2008, from the laughed-through come-ons and botched track list to the giddy wordplay and perfectionist sonic details, a mixtape-era monsterpiece with room for Rodney King sex jokes, Martian impressions, and the still-floating city of New Orleans. Live, this translates into giving the kids what they want and then some, with smash openers Keyshia Cole (an R&B great in her own right) and Gym Class Heroes, plus Auto-Tunesmith pop star T-Pain, who brings a literal traveling circus complete with calliope, a daisy-duke-wearing stilt-walker, fire-jugglers, and dwarf breakdancers. The headliner fronts an elevated live band where Weezy alone would be enough.
Mon., Jan. 19, 7 p.m., 2009
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