Pick up the August issue of The Fly to read my review of Nicki Minaj live at Hammersmith Apollo.
Or read it online HERE (page 71)
London, Hammersmith Apollo
Three hours before Nicki Minaj is due onstage, there are miles of fans queuing outside the Apollo. Many have camped out overnight, sleeping in bin bags, just to get an inch closer to the rap phenomenon. The sheer excitement of the audience is hysterical before she even enters the stage.
Minaj starts strong, firing through a medley of ‘Roman’s Revenge,’ ‘Did It On ‘Em,’ and ‘I Am Your Leader,’ her thrillingly aggressive lyrics echoed by her fans as she hands over her crystal encrusted microphone to various crowd members, even pulling a group of them on stage to dance and sing with her to ‘Bedrock.’ Her celebrated rear is packed into a pair of fluorescent hot pants for tonight’s show, with her hair a swathe of pastel pink and blonde silk, a style that is later changed to a curled bouffant in one of three costume changes. Her return to the stage in a white bondage prom dress with a machine gun that pumps out smoke introduces a slightly drawn out dance enthused portion of the set however; ‘Starships’ and ‘Whip It’ are frivolously fun, but a further four electro-synth drenched songs later and the crowd are gasping for more of her rap venom.
Following a brief interlude, Minaj announces that the next section of the show is dedicated to anyone who’s “ever been hurt,” standing centre stage to sing slow jams ‘Save Me’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe’ until the mood’s suddenly broken by the frantic bile of ‘Come On A Cone’ and ‘HOV Lane.’ Although slick and magnetising, she only performs select verses and the flow becomes frustratingly choppy – ‘Itty Bitty Piggy’ in its entirety could have seriously stolen the show. But it’s hard to leave the venue anything less than euphoric with ‘Super Bass’ as her grand finale.
If she can sustain her unmatchable energy and presence, gets together a live band and stops truncating her best material, her arena tour later this year might just propel her to a whole new level of superstardom.