Mac Miller – Live At The HMV Forum, London: Review!

Defying Tradition.

If there’s ever an artist to defy the traditional route of making it to the top of the charts, then Mac Miller’s your man – proving you don’t need a big label in order to reach the dizzy heights of success. While the twenty-year-old Pittsburgh native may be considered a newbie in the rap world, having only one official album under his belt, Malcolm McCormick gained legions of fans worldwide, after releasing seven mixtapes over the last five years. And the hard graft paid off, because the young wordsmith’s debut LP ‘Blue Slide Park’ became the first independently released record to top the Billboard charts in over fifteen years. So when the rising hip hop star brings his ‘Blue Slide Park’ tour to the UK, it’s no surprise Miller’s Brit fans turn up in their droves for the occasion.

It’s one of the hottest days in the year and just one glance at the audience outside the HMV Forum and you can feel the jubilance and excitement in the young crowd. Once inside the insanely hot North West London venue, the atmosphere is electric – even before the main man’s hit the stage. So when Miller arrives, there’s no surprise pandemonium erupts as ecstatic fans fist pump and go crazy for their idol.

Dressed in a white “I LOVE LDN” T-shirt, jeans and hat, Miller keeps it simple, with no gimmicks. Taking rap back to its essence, the US star is simply joined on stage by his DJ and hype man – the show is purely about the music. “Yo London, make more muthf*ckin’ noise,” he confidently declares, before spitting verses from his debut LP and numerous mixtapes – showcasing an impressive catalogue of material for such a young artist (Miller released his first mixtape at the tender age of fifteen).

Songs such as ‘Loud’, ‘Party On Fifth Av’ and ‘My Team’ has sweat-drenched revellers energetically shape-throwing, whilst rapping along to every word. Miller’s live delivery is precisely sharp and stage presence incredibly strong. Current radio smash ‘Frick Park Market’ raises the temperature, but it’s tracks from the K.I.D.S. mixtape that are the highlight of the night, with the likes of ‘Knock Knock’ and ‘Nikes On My Feet’ causing frenzied applause.

Feeding off the crowd’s infectious energy, Miller even provides some dance moves – showcasing his humorous side. The hour long set also includes tributes to Michael Jackson and the late Beastie Boy, MCA. And saving the best for last, Miller closes the impressive hyperactive show with his smash and fan favourite ‘Donald Trump’.

The name Mac Miller may still be unfamiliar to many, but it’s only a matter of time before this young contender starts to really rival some of hip hops heavy players.

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Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne, 02 Arena, London, Live Review!

Six months after completing the US leg, rap royalty Jay-Z and Kanye West finally bring their highly anticipated Watch The Throne Tour to UK soil. And it’s undoubtedly worth the wait.

It’s not hard to see why Yeezy and HOV refer to themselves as “The Throne”, as cocky as it may be. Jay-Z, an emerging billionaire, has more US number one albums than Elvis Presley, with a successful career spanning over fifteen years. And his protégée Kanye West is close on his heels. While at times it’s easy to dislike Mr West, the flamboyant rapper’s musical genius often overrides his ego-fuelled gaffes. So it’s no surprise the rap juggernauts joint show is the hottest ticket in town, with celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessie J in attendance.

The 20,000-strong crowd patiently waits as the reigning monarchs of hip-hop are fashionably late to hit the stage at London’s O2 (as part of five consecutive shows at the Greenwich venue). But fans are unfazed by the 45 minute wait, as the anticipation only fuels excitement. Suddenly, the music dips and the venue erupts into frenzied applause, as the superstar rappers emerge. Sticking to their “all black everything” motto, both are decked out in black clothing from head to toe – with West donning what appears to be a skirt over his leather trousers. And in an intriguingly unique entrance, West, 34, and 42-year-old Jigga enter the stage on boxes from opposite sides of the venue, spitting back and forth with one another, opening the historic night with ‘H.A.M’.

Both stages slowly rise, with images of barking dogs and wildlife projecting from each, as the duo performs tracks from their smash hit joint album. As the intro to Otis Redding’s ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ plays, Jay sprints to the main stage to join his collaborator, and the pair break into the LP’s leading single ‘Otis’. Accompanied with a giant American flag draped at the back, it’s at this point the show really gets underway.

The tour may be called Watch The Throne, but both MCs – to the delight of fans – play numerous tracks from their impressive back catalogue of hits. Jay-Z’s ‘Jigga What, Jigga Who’ and ‘Big Pimpin’’ takes older fans back to the Roc-A-Fella heyday, while West’s ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ and ‘All Falls Down’ garners rapturous screams and excited shape-throwing gestures.

Showcasing their natural stage chemistry, Yeezy assists Jay during a rendition of ‘99 Problems’, while HOV returns the favour on West’s ‘Gold Digger’. A personal highlight comes when the pair takes it down a notch, grabbing a seat, whilst casually conversing, reminiscing about earlier days –which proves a great intro to Jigga’s breakthrough 1997 single ‘Hard Knock Life’.

Despite its wide success, some critics have questioned the ‘Watch The Throne’ album, claiming the record’s over-the-top boasting of wealth, designer garments and private jet lifestyle, in a time where most are feeling the pinch of the credit crunch, suggests the rap icons are slowly losing touch with their original hip hop fanbase. And while elements of that cannot be disputed, the albums triumph (both commercially and within the hip hop scene) proves rap fans (and pop fans alike) are very much so onboard with the duo’s “luxury rap”. And The O2 gig is a testament to that.

The US stars close their breathtaking two-hour set with an extended version of ‘N****s In Paris’ – which is reloaded an astonishing FOUR times, providing a perfect encore to what is quite frankly an EPIC show. Jay and Kanye are well and truly sitting on top of the hip hop throne, with no contenders remotely insight of knocking them off anytime soon.

Words by Vanessa Laker

D’Angelo Live at the 02 Brixton Academy, London REVIEW!

Back in the Nineties no artist defined soul music quite like D’Angelo did. The Virginia native’s 1995 debut album ‘Brown Sugar’ helped revolutionise mainstream modern-day rhythm and blues, and along with the likes of Maxwell and Jill Scott, D’Angelo and co were at the forefront of the popular neo-soul era.

However, it was D’Angelo’s long-awaited sophomore LP ‘Voodoo’ that really put the multi-talented singer-songwriter on the map, swinging Michael Eugene Arche in a lane above his rivals. Released in January 2000, the critically acclaimed and commercially successful double Grammy-winning record fused contemporary soul with old school funk, whilst exuding traditional jazz – resulting in Robert Christgau dubbing the young star the “R&B Jesus”.
Later that year D’Angelo embarked on what is now being described as his historic “Voodoo Tour” – a host of live shows that saw the soul sensation travel the world with his group The Soultronics, cementing his place as one of the genre’s most influential musicians. Fans eagerly awaited the follow-up to ‘Voodoo’, but to much disappointment, a third album never arose.

To really understand the complexity of this comeback, one has to be aware of the reasons behind D’Angelo’s long hiatus from the limelight. A new album has been in the pipelines for many years, but a long battle with alcohol and substance abuse, as well as numerous court cases, have kept the star off track, both musically and personally. And in 2010 he was arrested for attempting to pay an undercover cop for oral sex in New York. The notorious mug shot that followed revealed a shockingly dishelmed, overweight looking D’Angelo – a figure a million miles away from the muscular physically toned man who stripped naked for the infamous 2000 ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)’ music video.

It’s been over a decade since he performed live and a staggering 12 years since the release of his last album, so when PhatNights announced the R&B superstar would be coming to London for two gigs as part of a mini European tour, fans wasted no time snapping up tickets for one of the most eagerly anticipated R&B shows of modern times.

It’s 9.20pm and Brixton Academy is at full capacity. The main man is running slightly late, but audiences are excitedly patient, whilst being happily entertained by his impressive live backing band. Suddenly the lights dim, exhilarating cheers and screams engulf the venue as a healthier looking D’Angelo enters the stage to ‘Player Player’ intro. Donning a leather black jacket and a wild west inspired black hat, with his guitar in tow, the 37-year-old opens with a funk rendition of ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’. Upon hearing the first song alone, any suggestions that D’Angelo isn’t fit to make a live comeback are quickly diminished, as the singers emotionally raw and flawlessly powerful vocals declare that the soul legend is officially back like he never even left.

Old classics such as ‘Devil’s Pie’ and ‘Chicken Grease’ complete the nostalgic moment, with an extended version of ‘Shit, Damn, Motherfucker’ sending audiences into frenzy mode. Half way through the up-tempo James Brown reminiscent set, D’Angelo takes it down a notch as he jumps on the piano. New songs ‘The Charade’ and ‘Sugar Daddy’ are greeted warmly, but it’s classic ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)’ which garners the loudest applause. The encore comes courtesy of a remixed version of ‘Brown Sugar’.

Neo soul singer D'Angelo performs live at the O2 Academy, Brixton.

Can the live show triumph translate to new album success? Only time will tell. But the public have been waiting an extremely long time for this moment and judging from the smile on his face whilst performing this weekend, it’s evident the iconic soul singer enjoys being back on stage and has been waiting for this moment equally as much as the fans have. And with contemporary R&B music in such a dire state right now, the genre needs the “messiah of rhythm and blues” to come back and inject some credibility back into modern R&B music.

Words by Vanessa Laker

V Festival 2011 with Eminem, Rihianna & Elie Goulding: The Review!

V Festival 2011
Chelmsford, Essex

When it comes to festivals, the line-up doesn’t come more pic ‘n’ mix than Virgin Media’s V Festival. And while V (generally) opts for commercial acts, when it comes to genres, the bill is about as randomly diverse as a night bus stop in central London.

Over the weekend the likes of Manic Street Preachers, Hanson (Yep, those guys are still around), N-Dubz, Pendulum and Tinie Tempah all graced the stages at Highland Park and Chelmsford for the annual late summer festival. And while there’s something in there for everyone, this trait has its cons, as well as pros.

Arctic Monkeys were Chelmsford’s Saturday headliners and injected some much needed rock ‘n’ roll to the weekend. And while the weather was unpredictable and rainy the previous day, Sunday is the definition of summer, as the sun beams down in Essex.

Spread out over four different locations across the park, acts of all genres take to the stage. Ellie Goulding is an early crowd pleaser. Songs such as Starry Eyed set the tone and the petite singer proves a hit with revellers.

In general scheduling and timetables clash heavily, meaning you have to choose between many top acts. A large amount of audiences at the Script’s set seem to be Rihanna fans who turned up early to the get a good spot for the Bajan stars set.

Rihanna performs on day two of the V Festival at Hylands Parl (Pic: Getty)

Although it provides a wide range of music, V Festival generally caters to pop fans and Rihanna’s appointment is a fine and fitting one. Dressed in a pair of the tiniest black leather hot pants, fishnets and a tied up denim shirt, the 23-year-old sizzles as she churns out hit after hit of her chart-topping songs. While her vocals are not the strongest, the likes of Disturbia, S&M and Rude Boy have the crowd joyously singing along and waving their hands. A rendition of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song is well received, but it’s the finale performance of Umbrella that garners the biggest applause and prompts many revellers to erm… get out their umbrellas.

Rihanna’s set is a perfect warm up for the main man Eminem, who closes the show with an impressive 90 minute performance of songs from a career that spans over a decade. The Detroit MC was reportedly paid £2 million for his two day’s at V Festival and while I can’t say it was a £2 million worthy performance, Marshal Mathers rarely comes over to the UK, so it was a rare opportunity for fans to get a glimpse of arguably the best rapper of our generation.

Dressed in his trademark casual attire, Em’s set gets off to a slow start, but quickly picks up paste. Joined by his hype man, early tracks The Way I Am and My Name Is have the crowd amped up, but recent tracks such as Not Afraid and No Love from 2010’s Recovery also receive an equal level of applause. When Em brings out D12 for their hits Purple Pills and Fight Music, a moment of nostalgia kicks in and for a second I felt as though I was back in Secondary school.

At 38-year-old Eminem’s wild hell raising days are well and truly behind him (there were no chainsaws or cursing of other acts), but his stage presence was still very much in tact and 13 years down the line he’s still one of front runners in contemporary music.

The down point of the set was Em’s mic being too low, which meant at times his vocals were drowned out. Also the US star constantly referred to the crowd as ‘London, UK’ – someone clearly forgot to tell him we were in Essex. But even a technical fault and a slight geographical error wasn’t enough to ruin this memorable performance. Stan was a magical moment and reminder of Eminem at his very best. When Rihanna came back out on stage for the pair’s duet Love The Way You Lie, the crowd screamed with glee. Closing song Lose Yourself was a general crowd favourite and a fitting encore to an impressive show.

Although the Eminem of today’s live show is not quite on the same level of his performances of the past, fans were treated to something quite special and it’s clear to see just why Rolling Stone magazine recently named him the “King of Hip-hop.”

Kanye West Big Chill Festival 2011: The Review!

Big Chill, Eastnor Castle Deer Park

Before Kanye West even took to the stage for his grand headlining slot at Saturday’s Big Chill Festival, so much had already been written about the eccentric rapper. Living up to his diva status, West apparently booked the luxurious 12 bedroom Eastnor Castle for his stay – costing a whopping £7,000 per night. Known equally for his flamboyant stage sets and outspoken behaviour as well as his music, The Chi Town MC’s performance at the Eastnor Park venue is true to form and doesn’t disappoint in the creativity department, despite leaving audiences slightly divided in opinion.

Appearing half an hour late, many revellers are frustrated by the rappers tardiness and begin to jeer. But when West finally arrives on stage, appearing from the sound tower at the centre of the crowd, the boos soon turn to cheers. The 34-year-old begins his set with Dark Fantasy, while 20 ballerinas and his three-man band are situated at the Roman statue themed main stage.

Kanye West is not your average rapper and his theatrical set is more reminiscent of a Broadway musical, as opposed to a hip-hop show. It’s this artistic trait that separates West from his peers and pleasantly differentiates his live shows from his rap rivals.

He swiftly makes his way to the main stage and the show really begins. Power, Jesus Walks and Diamonds Are Forever are greeted with rapturous applause, as fans rap along and throw their ‘Roc’ signs in the air.

The two-hour set is a combination of new and old songs, taken from West’s five studio albums, as well as verses from Monster, Swagga Like Us and Katy Perry’s E.T.

Good Life and Love Lockdown are general crowd pleasers and have audiences singing out loud. And while fans are enjoying the up-tempo set, this is by no means the multi-Grammy winner’s best performance – an admission he expresses.

“I’m sorry for losing my voice earlier and turning up late, we’re trying to get this perfect,” he said during a seven minute talking period. “I’m very frustrated that I can’t perform at the level… I’m going to try as hard as I can to give you the best show I can. Even with half a voice.”

He went on express his frustration at being labelled a “monster” by the media and comparisons to Hitler: ‘I walk through the hotel, and I walk down the street, and people look at me like I’m insane, like I’m Hitler,’ he told the crowd.

While most fans appreciated the rappers honest and extremely personal accounts, some saw it as yet ‘another rant’. But either way, when the music kicked in, all divided opinions were vanished, as the crowd lapped up hit after hit, including Stronger, All Falls Down and Gold Digger – which garnered the biggest applause .

West closed his set with a touching Amy Winehouse tribute, playing a medley of the Brit singers ‘Tears Dry On My Own’ and ‘Back To Black’, after dedicating his show to his late mother.

Although audiences may have expected a little bit more from the festival’s biggest ever headliner, Kanye West on a bad day is still better than most on their very best.

Wireless Festival 2011: The Review!

Unfazed: Will.i.am appeared to be on form even though he was forced to evacuate his hotel after a fire scare earlier in the day

Festival season continued in full swing this past weekend, as thousands flocked to Hyde Park for London’s biggest annual live music festival.

Over the years Wireless has struggled to carve out a solid identity with regards to their music policy. And after rap juggernauts Kanye West and Jay-Z headlined in previous years, they set a high standard which left some slightly underwhelmed by the appointment of now-pop band Black Eyed Peas.

But while hardened music critics may have raised an eyebrow, the line-up attracted a heard of fans and pretty much solidified Wireless’ core base as a festival that shines brightly in the genres of dance music and homegrown rap artists – as well as US hip-hop exports. 

Friday

The three day event kicked off on Friday, where Example opened the Main Stage with an upbeat Ibiza inspired set. Fresh from the recent success of his number one hit, ‘Changed The Way You Kissed Me’, the 29-year-old was evidently confident and it shone through in his performance.

French dance DJ David Guetta had one of the biggest turnouts for his hour plus set on the Pepsi Max Stage. The chart topping hit maker filled the space to its capacity and had many surrounding the tent, trying to get a glimpse of the flashing lights-assisted performance, which mirrored the atmosphere of a real life rave.

UK rap stood tall on the night, Tottenham MC Wretch 32 gave an impressive solid performance, which due to the settings, took fans back to the old ‘mixtape days’, whilst maintaining a balanced commercial tone. Tinie Tempah’s set had audiences on their feet and two-stepping away all throughout. Despite a glitch with the microphone, the ‘Written In The Stars’ rapper managed to carry on unhinged by the technical error and with fans singing loudly to the likes of ‘Pass Out’ and ‘Frisky’ you barely noticed that at times you couldn’t actually hear him.

Plan B’s rock influenced set was a general crowd pleaser and proved just why the East London native is one of the brightest talents in the UK. While headliners Black Eyed Peas’ initial appointment may have been greeted with mixed reactions and has taken Wireless into an even more ‘radio friendly’ direction, on the night, the Peas gave a visually flamboyant performance, which entertained the 60,000 festival goers.

Saturday

The line-up for Saturday was arguably more exciting than that of the previous day.

With Janelle Monae opening proceedings with an electrifying and energy filled show-stopping performance, the mood was officially set. Maverick Sabre was another early act who put on a memorable show. The 20-year-old Hackney singer’s unique and powerful vocals will no doubt make him one to watch for the coming few months.

Katy B had audiences amped up, as she belted songs from her debut LP ‘Katy B On A Mission’. Sporting a newly dyed flamed coloured curly barnet, the petite singer told audiences she “loves making club music” and the energy she gets from it, and just like that, the festival transformed into an outdoor daytime club for a few minutes.

A personal highlight came from US rapper J. Cole’s late afternoon set. The Roc Nation signee, who notoriously doesn’t follow hip-hop conventions, made you feel like you were at a J.Cole concert, as opposed to a mixed act festival. Still, with no official album under his belt, the North Carolina native churned out songs from his critically acclaimed mixtapes ‘The Come Up’, ‘The Warm Up’ and ‘Friday Night Lights’ and had fans yearning for more.

Music took over celebrity in the closing sets. With Chase and Status putting on a full on, lively and bass-heavy show, which had the crowd well and truly hyped up for the encore performance of The Chemical Brothers. Following their electrifying Glastonbury show, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons did not disappoint when they brought their electronic set to the capital city. The showbiz shunning duo hid in the decs and let the music do all the talking. Accompanied with florescent flashing lights, the atmosphere was fully amped and Hyde Park in the closing hours was reminiscent of a full on rave.

Although Wireless has had stronger line-ups in the past, the acts that did shine, did so extremely brightly. Never-the-less, overall it was a fun packed, family friendly weekend, which had a little something for everyone and the sizzling sunshine made the atmosphere that extra bit nicer too.

Big Boi Live – Heaven, London: The Review

When it comes to hip hop, very few musicians are as visually and musically theatric as Outkast. So it’s surprising that Big Boi’s one-off solo show in the capital is something of a subtle, simple and nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Unlike his flamboyant full band set at Glastonbury a few days later, Big Boi takes to the stage at Heaven with a stripped-back ensemble: DJ, hype man, and a backdrop displaying video projections. And while the setting was far from glamorous, it actually worked marvelously in his favour, echoing a time in the Nineties when rap was raw and slightly less pop-influenced than some of the genre’s contemporary movements.

Opening with ‘Bust’, a string of classic Outkast tracks soon follow. ‘Ms. Jackson’, ‘Rosa Parks’, ‘ATLiens’, ‘B.O.B’, and ‘So Fresh And So Clean’, are delivered with a neat ease to the adulation of the audience. But as popular as the group’s work is, it’s Big Boi’s solo material from his critically-acclaimed ‘Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty’ album that receives the most of the crowd’s adulation.

For the final encore, Big Boi’s hype man calls upon a bevy of women to join them on stage for a rendition of ‘Tangerine’. And while the venue’s basic facilities made for a slightly awkward setting for such an act, Big Boi manages to pull it off, adding more life to the performance.

For a man that has been making music for nearly two decades, Big Boi’s performance just goes to show how relevant he is to hip hop today, as he was back in 1993. And while there’s no doubt he can hold his ground as a solo artist (the sheer brilliance of ‘Sir Lucious Left Foot’ proving that), you just can’t help but hope that another Outkast album is on the horizon.

Beyonce Live @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London: The Review!

She's got the moves: Beyoncé last night performing at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London for the UK launch of her fourth solo album, 4

On Monday night, a mere 24 hours after her triumphant Glastonbury performance, Beyonce took to the stage  at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire, for a secret gig to celebrate the release of her debut album ‘4’ (which was released the same day). But there were no signs of any Glasto hangover and the sultry singer put on a phenomenal pitch-perfect, vibrant energetic set.

After a slightly lengthy wait, which only got the crowd even more amped, the 29-year-old songstress came out in a yellow tasseled mini dress, accompanied with her trademark curly blond hair – which was theatrically blowing from the wind machine – and was greeted to a frenzied reception.

The multi-Grammy winner looked flawless and was evidently still buzzing from the previous night. “I’m still high from yesterday,” she told the crowd at the relatively intimate show and then thanked the audience for their continuous support over the past 15 years, before opening her exclusive set with latest single ‘Who Run The World (Girls)’.

Belting it out: Beyoncé sang a number of tracks from her new album 4

The west London venue was full of some of the former Destiny’s Child stars biggest fans, as well as a number of A-list pals, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Adele, Jessie J (who arrived on crutches), Tinie Tempah, Alexandra Burke, Ed Sheeran, Fashion designers Stella McCartney and Tom Ford, mother Tina Knowles and Hubby Jay-Z, who all cheered on from the first floor balcony.

Beyonce continued her breathtaking set with new tracks ‘Best Thing I Never Had’,  ‘1+1’ and ‘End Of Time’ from her fourth studio album. And unlike previous shows, there was no set-list and she even asked the crowd to help choose which songs should be sung next.

‘Irreplaceable’ was a general crowd pleaser and had the crowd loudly chanting “to the left, to the left”, whilst swaying their hands in unison. ‘Single Ladies’ was another fan favourite and had everyone two stepping.      

The talented singer also did a medley of classic covers, which included a show-stopping rendition of Queen‘s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – a performance which showed just why Beyonce’s one of the best vocalists of our time. The ‘covers section’ also included Prince’s ‘The Beautiful Ones’ and Kings Of Leon’s ‘Sex On Fire’. The set was closed with a powerful version of ‘Halo’, which was a perfect encore to a (pitch) perfect show.

Accompanied by a full live band and backing dancers who were vibrant and lively, Beyonce gave a no holds barred energetic A+ performance. And despite dancing her heart out, her vocals didn’t glitch once. It’s clear to see just why this Independent Woman is one of the biggest stars of our generation.

Beyonce’s ‘4’ album is out now.

Drake Live @ Hammersmith Apollo: The Review!

Something pretty special

This past Saturday rap’s brightest young star, Drake, brought his UK tour to the capital, for a string of headlining shows at the Hammersmith Apollo.

The Canadian rapper previously postponed his debut UK shows by six months, due to personal family issues, so it was fair to say his fans were eagerly awaiting to see the ‘Young Money’ star perform live.

With J Cole taking care of the warm up duties, concert goers were treated with an opening act, that was quite frankly worthy of headlining the entire gig. But not to be out-done, Aubrey ‘Drake’ Graham put on a show, that I’m sure most of his fans inside the west London venue, would believe was worth the six month wait.

The 24-year-old came out to a frenzied-style response, as he entered the stage to his ‘Light Up’ intro. UK audiences gave the former child star a very warm welcome – boiling hot to be precise. He opened the show with a verse from ‘Forever’, which turned the already hyped Apollo theatre into a rave-like atmosphere.

His 60 minute set included snippet verses and hooks from both his highly successful debut album ‘Thank Me Later’ and his critically acclaimed mixtape ‘So Far Gone’. There were also added verses from his featured songs, including (Rihanna’s) ‘What’s My Name’ and (Young Money’s) ‘Bedrock’. The chopped down version of each song actually worked in Drake’s favour, as it kept the show moving and very fast pace.

For someone with only one official album under his belt, and who is still considered a ‘newbie’ in the hip-hop game, Drake’s list of hit songs were pretty impressive.

‘Successful’, ‘Fancy’ and ‘Over’ were general crowd pleasers. A personal highlight of the night came when Florence Welch (of Florence & The Machine) joined the rapper on stage to take care of Alicia Keys’ vocal duties for ‘Fireworks’. The south London songstress brought some much appreciated glam and strong melodic lungs to the show.

Although Drake has been the only rapper to successfully combine singing and rapping, his live singing vocals weren’t particularly strong on the night (he had told the crowd the previous night he was suffering from the flu). But when he rapped, he was so on point. His live MC’ing voice is just as clear and precise as his recording voice.

The down point of the show was his constant desire to ‘talk dirty’. Although the majority female crowd were lapping it up, all his talk about “The Drizzy 3 Stroke” and him attempting to demonstrate it, was slightly awkward, and more reminiscent of an R&B show as oppose to a hip-hop concert. Not to mention it completely froze out his male fans.

At times it seemed like a watered down hip-hop show and the constant sexual comments were slightly unnecessary in the context of a rap concert, but overall it was a great show, with an electric atmosphere. When Drake rapped and focused purely on lyrics and the music, it was something pretty special.