Kendrick Lamar (photo from Noisey by Voice)

Live Review: Kendrick Lamar @ Rogers Arena, Vancouver – August 2nd 2017

Kendrick Lamar lit the night up in Vancouver, blessing Rogers Arena with his awe-inspiring flow and phenomenal stage show.

Mixing old and new, the set was forever fresh. Whenever an “old” song came on (old in quotes, because really, good kid, m.a.a.d. city was not that long ago), he would would give a shout-out about going back to the old stuff. Kendrick is well-known for putting together tightly cohesive albums that explore deeply personal themes, and yet he had no problem seamlessly transitioning between songs like “Backseat Freestyle” and “LOYALTY.”. It was as if the songs were meant to be played together.

There was barely a low moment throughout the whole set. Even between songs, Kendrick fit in quite a few performances to support a theme of Kung Fu. A short, cheesy, Kung Fu flick about “Kung Fu Kenny” screened between some songs, while other breaks featured dancers and martial artists performing elaborate routines. The visual aspect of the performance was absolutely on point. Most songs featured pyrotechnics, and the stages (yes, more than one) were perfectly laid out for the show.

The High Point

Perhaps my favourite interlude was not a real interlude at all. After “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”, Kendrick Lamar took a few moments to absorb the scene in front of him. The crowd, clearly wanting to give him something to remember Vancouver by, created a roar like I had never heard before. It was easily the loudest moment of the night. There was no hyping up; Kendrick wasn’t asking for this. And the truth is, he’s a man who doesn’t need to. While other artists jump around the stage, Lamar commands that kind of excitement with just his presence.

This sort of excitement is the type that he carries through the whole set. On songs like “King Kunta” and “DNA”, the energy flows straight from his beats, but during hushed, intense tracks, he carries an air of power, confidence, and ferocity that leaves you in awe. During songs like “untitled 02 | 06.23.2014.” and “LUST.”, he barely moves an inch, and yet the whole crowd is on edge. In those impassioned moments, you can’t help but feel like he is talking directly to you. Those moments are what made the show truly incredible. 

Kung Fu Kenny will return t Vancouver some day in the future. Will you be there?

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