In the past few weeks, concerts have been on my mind.
So I thought I would get back to writing random though posts on my website to mix up the content a bit for Rap Music Ratings and share with you my current thoughts on concerts, as well as my past experiences in some detail.
Rihanna – The ANTI Tour – June 2016
I’m kind of ashamed to say as a huge music fan that I didn’t go to my first concert til I was 19 years old.
But let’s go back to a much simpler time, the summer of 2016. I had been with my girlfriend for just over 2 months, and had only just recently met her family.
Anyway, we were at her house one day in June when suddenly we get told that her mum has managed to get hold of some tickets to see Rihanna in my city of Manchester that night.
My girlfriend is a huge fan of Rihanna, and to be fair, I do like some of RiRi’s material too. So we pretty much jumped at the chance to go to this concert.
I had heard a few weeks prior that RiRi was touring and that her supporting artist was Travis Scott (!!!) so I was absolutely buzzed to see not only Rihanna but my favourite artist at that time too!
However, I did then find out that La Flame was only supporting RiRi on her American dates and would not be making the European leg of the ANTI Tour, and would instead be replaced with Big Sean. Which was a bit of a disappointment but I do like Big Sean so it wasn’t that disheartening.
The venue was the Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester, which is a huge open air stadium with majority standing and limited seating. We were standing throughout which wasn’t ideal but on a very pleasant summer evening, in my favourite city with my favourite person, I wasn’t complaining.
Big Sean got the crowd up and played his usual big hits such as Blessings, Clique, Mercy & IDFWU. For me, I really enjoyed this opening set because I love all of those tracks. But it was clear that not everyone in the crowd was too familiar with Sean or his tracks, which was a bit of a shame.
I’m not 100% if this was confirmed or not but, I think RiRi actually turned up late to this concert because there was a surprisingly long wait from when Big Sean finished to when Rihanna eventually started her set.
Eventually, she walked out onto a big platform in the middle of the crowd ahead of the main stage, performing her track Stay.
After one or two more tracks on this platform, she made her way over to the main stage and continued her set.
Now the summer of 2016 was such a sweet period of my life for quite a few reasons. And this was around the time Rihanna’s huge hit Work came out, so this song for me just sums up this awesome time of my life.
When she eventually played Work, the biggest and most crowd pleasing memorable moment of the whole concert took place, when none other than Drake suddenly appeared from the wing of the stage to perform his verse from Work alongside RiRi.
After a whole lot of screaming from the crowd and some cosy looking dancing from Drake and Rihanna, Drake then took centre stage and performed his huge track at the time, One Dance.
After this short track was finished, Aubrey left the stage, claiming he would be visiting the great city of Manchester “very soon”, which I will be talking about in another concert related post.
At this point we were halfway through Rihanna’s set and it was starting to get dark.
The impending summer darkness only highlighted the very impressive visuals, coming from the huge screen on the main stage.
The rest of the set went well but without a doubt the Drake appearance shook the whole show and still serves me as the best moment of the whole experience.
Fun Fact: Umbrellas were banned from this concerts and were confiscated from people trying to get in.
My first concert was a very good one.
Best song performances: Clique, IDFWU, Work, Diamonds, One Dance.
The 1975 – Manchester Arena – December 2016
As an early Christmas, my girlfriend got us two tickets to see The 1975 at Manchester Arena in December 2016.
If anyone, doesn’t know, The 1975 are a Manchester based rock/pop band that I have been following since 2013. This tour was part of their world tour to promote their newly released second studio with an incredibly long name which I cant be arsed typing out.
Anyway, I had been a big fan of their debut self titled album from a couple for years previous, and while I didn’t like their new second album as much, I still liked half the tracks from it and still enjoyed listening to the band as a whole.
But I was still super excited to go to this concert, and they did not disappoint.
The bands range of lively radio bangers to their slowed down emotionally charged hits made for a varied vibe from the entire audience, who seemed to love it.
One track I really like from their second album, however, is a song called Loving Someone, which turned out to be a really touching moment, as just before the song started, the band’s frontman Matty was given and held up a rainbow flag with the song title painted onto it by someone in the front row.
As expected, the visuals from this concert were a sight to behold. With the band famously using very bright neon lights alongside their previous black and white aesthetic, made for a absolute feats for the eyes.
By the final of their 20 ish setlist, they left my favourite 1975 track, Sex, right to the very end, to which the ending made me give a solo and very energetic standing ovation.
The only downside I can say for this concert is that the band did not play my favourite track from the fist album, a track called Menswear, as well as my favourite track from their second album, a song called, This Must Be My Dream.
This was also my first music concert held at my favourite venue in the world, Manchester Arena.
If anyone is unfamiliar with this band, I would recommend giving their 2013 self titled debut album a try.
Best song performances: UGH, Sex, Medicine, Loving Someone.
Kendrick Lamar – The DAMN Tour – February 2018
Now if you are avid followers of Rap Music Ratings, you have probably seen a lot of pictures from this concert, but without a doubt in my mind, this was by far the best concert I have ever been to, and by far one of the best experiences of my entire life.
It’s now nearly the one year anniversary I was in the presence of, not just one of my favourite artists of all time, but also one of the best artists around right now in the mainstream, Kung Fu Kenny himself, Mr Kendrick Lamar.
For this concert, the tickets were a present for my 21st birthday, which was just 4 days before this concert.
This was also the first time I had returned to Manchester Arena since the awful bomb attack took place during the Ariana Grande concert there back in May 2017.
Now I would be lying if this horrible incident was not on my mind leading up to the concert but the excitement I had for seeing Kendrick live was just so overbearing that it took over me completely.
As shown in my profile picture, the huge DAMN Tour banner covering the stage was impressive.
I must say as well, these were really good seats we were in, but with the way the stage was set up for the majority of the set, we did not have the best view of the big screen at the back of the stage, but to make up for this, we had a great view of Kendrick.
The concert kicked off with Kendrick literally starting things off with a bang with the opening single track from latest album DAMN, DNA.
I couldn’t think of a better opening song to kick off a concert with. The energy in that song alone is incredible, but to hear it live was exhilarating.
Halfway through the set, a literal ninja took to the stage to perform alongside Kendrick who then left the stage to walk towards a smaller raised platform in the middle of the standing area.
To get to this area, KENDRICK LITERALLY WALKED A FEW FEET IN FRONT OF ME, so close that even with my terrible eyesight, I could make out his face very clearly.
He didn’t stay at this platform for long, as he only performed the song Money Trees there before returning to the centre stage.
One of the most memorable points of the whole concert was the performance of the song Humble.
BUT, it wasn’t just Kendrick that performed this track, the whole crowd performed most of this song acapella with only a couple of lines from Kendrick himself.
It was a staggering experience.
Straight after this, the crowd then started chanting Kendrick’s name like he was a football player.
A very British moment.
When the chanting subsided, Kendrick went into a brief spoken word speech about his experience and appreciating the love showed to him that night from the Manchester crowd.
Which then led to him smoothly to end the concert with the song Love.
As I said earlier, this was the best concert I have ever been to and it will take one hell of a show to beat this.
Best song performances: DNA, Loyalty, Swimming Pools, Alright, King Kunta.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and didn’t get too bored. The next post in this mini concert related post series will be a list of concerts and artists I would like to see in the future and why.
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