The Compton born rapper officially welcomes Manchester to The DAMN Tour.
The lights blackout, and cheers fill the arena as a short trailer begins to play. The audio-visuals show Kendrick Lamar's new persona, Kung-Fu Kenny, undertaking martial arts training. English subtitles run at the bottom of the screen, and it is as if Lamar
has done enough to teach his (predominately white male) audience about black culture, that he's moving on to the next ethnic minority group.
The night has barely started before it is clear to see where the £80+ per audience member has been implemented – production-wise, the show is glorious. Be it the vivid lights, the inclusion of the star’s music videos, flame throwers, the oriental performers, or the miniature movie that is premiered in segments throughout the show.
Ensuring also to play tracks from previous projects, Lamar questions if we have any 'Day 1s' - fans that have supported the rapper from the start - in the building. Before the stage glows a vibrant red, Lamar, wearing a black martial arts suit, goes onto perform King Kunta
. Older tracks such as Swimming Pools (Drank)
, and Backseat Freestyle
also make an appearance.
Perched on a second stage situated in the centre of the arena, Kung-Fu Kenny, performs LUST
whilst a fairy lights encage him. Lamar focuses on his audience, asking ‘Are you having a good time right now?’ as his platform rises. Once in view of the entire arena, Lamar performs Money Trees
Once the rapper makes his way back to the main stage, he performs XXX
, an anti-national anthem, in front of graphics of the American flag. Jumping straight into m.A.A.d City
sparks the creation of several mosh pits, which heavily juxtaposes the next track, Pride
, for which Kendrick Lamar encourages fans to raise a light as he performs.
As B***h, Don't Kill My Vibe
is performed, those sat in the upper tiers of the arena are having just as much fun as those situated in the golden circle. Lamar's modesty, and intimacy, with the audience throughout the show leads fans to forget of his legendary status. It is not until the rapper performs Alright
– a protest anthem affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement - that the arena is reminded of the impact the rapper has had on the wider world.
One of the most touching elements of the night is when Lamar stands back, allowing a sold-out Manchester Arena
crowd to sing HUMBLE
, highlighting that the love and respect the fans have for him is mutual. The moment is topped off when the song is then restarted, enabling Kendrick Lamar to go out with a bang. The artist’s performance is commended by 21,000 Mancunian accents chanting ‘Oh, Kendrick Lamar.’
Finally, the rapper returns with an encore; announcing that he hopes everyone enjoyed themselves, before performing GOD
. Fans who thought the show had finished rush back into the arena to catch a final glimpse of Lamar. As the show comes to an end, it is unbelievable how much entertainment one man and a microphone can provide. Lamar highlighted that the purpose of music is to help people forget their troubles - which is something he certainly achieved tonight.
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