I feel like I’ve spent the last five months as Felix Music Editor almost exclusively writing about Kendrick Lamar. Nonetheless, please indulge me one more time… I’ll try to keep it brief. Kendrick Lamar completed the UK leg of his DAMN. world tour last week, performing six nights and shutting down arenas in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, and London.
The show played out like a kung fu film, with a recurring theme of martial arts running throughout and the concert beginning with a short film depicting “the damn legend of Kung Fu Kenny”. The night got off to a frantic start as Kendrick kicked off his set with a literal BANG before launching into the explosive ‘DNA.’, complete with a ninja sharing the stage with him. This breathless start to the show set the pace for the rest of the evening as Kendrick proceeded to perform a medley of up-tempo fan favourites, including ‘ELEMENT.’ and ‘King Kunta’. It wasn’t until after performing his feature verse on ScHoolboy Q’s ‘Collard Greens’ that Kendrick gave the crowd a moment to catch its breath, before taking us back with ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’ and ‘Backseat Freestyle’ from 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city. The intro to ‘FEEL.’ played out whilst an accompanying dance performance took place on stage as King Kendrick made his way to perform ‘LUST.’ and ‘Money Trees’ in an elevated cage in the centre of the regular standing section, amongst his adoring subjects. Kendrick standing within spitting distance of me was arguably the highlight of my evening and that moment was only matched by the a cappella rendition of ‘HUMBLE.’ as the concert drew to a close. There was something magical about hearing the 20,000-strong crowd echo back every line from the track and even Kendrick seemed touched, pausing to witness the extent to which his music has impacted the culture and pervaded the mass consciousness of our generation.
This was quite simply the best concert I’ve attended, worth every penny of the £80 ticket price. If his masterstroke in executive producing the Black Panther album weren’t enough proof that Kendrick is an artist at the peak of his powers, seeing him perform live proves his artistry seemingly knows no bounds. Not to sound cliché, but only one word can describe the extravaganza Kendrick put on for us: DAMN.