EMAS Reviews: Kendrick Lamar

Simon MildenhallWatchLeave a Comment

Kendrick @ Perth Arena

Kendrick Lamar, one of the most influential rappers, kicked off his DAMN. tour in Perth and boy was this show a banger. The hype for this performance was off the charts and Perth Arena’s atmosphere on the night definitely lived up to this.

Because of the capped ticketing, getting tickets on the day of release proved to be a struggle. I must of been staying in the ticket queue from about 10am, with the allocations coming out at 2pm. I understand that Australian ticket services are not built for this kind of demand and festivals like Listen Out and Origin also suffer from this, but dear lord the queuing system was horrendous. You could not predict when you would be passed through the queue so your best bet of seeing Kendrick Lamar from front standing was to jump in the queue 5 minutes before tickets when live and just pray to god that you got put through. I am no expert of ticketing systems and there is probably a reason why is didn’t operate correctly, but it sucks that it makes getting standing tickets so much harder for those who cant afford a $350 resale ticket as opposed to a $180 ticket.

I managed to snag a GA front standing ticket, and all I can say is thank god I got lucky. I was so surprised that even though I was near the back of the standing queue on the night, I was still able to stick myself in such a close spot. I grabbed a cup of Elsie and prepared myself for one of my favourite artists of all time.

Despite Kendrick’s support artist, Sir, coming out 30 minutes late, he put out some quality vibes throughout the stadium and really got the crowd going. You could tell he really appreciated being on this tour and the performance really showed this sincerity.

In similar fashion to Flume’s set at Falls Festival, the large DAMN. tour drape fell and the man himself, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, started his show with an electric performance of ‘DNA’. The whole performance actually had the perfect mix of tracks from DAMN., To Pimp a Butterfly and Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. I was gunning to see some of my favourite tracks from Untitled Unmastered and Section. 80 but sadly these were missed. I feel like the set list could of been curated a bit more to perfect the vibe of the show and give fans an unforgettable experience. Don’t get me wrong, I fucking loved this set and I 100% do not regret paying $180 for it but it could of been perfected a little more in my opinion. Taking out tracks like ‘XXX’ and a cover of ‘Big Shot’ for some Kung Fu Kenny classics would of been gold but that’s just my personal option.

Speaking of Kung Fu Kenny, Kendrick split the show up into ‘sections’ with 3 absolutely amazing, hilarious and epic clips. It followed the story of Kendrick exploring the art of Kung Fu and I loved every single second of it. You can actually check the full thing out here if you want to watch it , I highly recommend you do. The whole show was a work of art, you could tell Kendrick had carefully thought about every single song, action, sound and visuals that were shown.

Before jumping into his heavier tracks, Kendrick hyped the crowd up with hand picked tracks such as ‘Big Shot’, ‘goosebumps’ and ‘Collard Greens’. Featuring Kendrick, these songs really held the crowd and got everyone jumping even before he had got to the meat of his show. I really respect Kendrick for these additions because it showed he is an artist, not a performer. He was creative with his set list and was more focused on creating a vibe and atmosphere than just plugging all of his tracks from DAMN. to make the show all about him.

Banging out some of my favourites tracks from Good Kid, M.A.A.D City like ‘Backseat Freestyle’ and ‘Money Trees’, Kendrick blew me away with some real creative stage design. He entered a trapdoor on stage and popped up in the centre of the standing crowd, which totally took me by surprise. I was taken to another level when he was surrounded by a vine-like cage that was lit up, that really reminded me of Kanye’s unique stage performances. If you want to see this for yourself, check it out here.

Kendrick then continued to blow me away with quality tracks like ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ and ‘m.A.A.d city’ but the show really showed its power when K-Dot dropped ‘HUMBLE’. Now if there is anyone who could make the entire arena of 15,000 capacity rap ‘HUMBLE’ without the song playing in the background, it is definitely Kendrick fucking Lamar. The whole crowd rapped HUMBLE. to a perfection and at this point, all the hours of learning the song were 100% worth it and I was at peace with the world.

The show came to an end and I hate to say something negative at this point after the incredible performance Kendrick gave, but I was kind of disappointed with the encore song. I love the track ‘GOD’, but I would of thought a track like ‘All The Stars’ or ‘Pray For Me’ from his recent Black Panther project would of been sublime. I saw the set list from his later shows on the DAMN. tour and I was a little gutted to see these were played as the encore.

That ending aside, I fucking loved the performance. The track list, the visuals, the stage design were all on point and I highly recommend you catch Kendrick at some point in your lives.

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