JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

October 24, 2012
Echo Arena Liverpool
Liverpool,  GBR
Review by Sakura
Photos by Sakura

Nicki Minaj

Rollercoaster Ride

Okay, so Nicki Minaj has cleavage, lots of it.

And yes, this energetic dynamo also wears flower-shaped pasties, to protect certain portions of her anatomy that sometimes make public appearances at the most inopportune times.

Taking into account this was just the third stop of her Pink Friday Reloaded tour, the audience at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, witnessed more pomp this night than circumstance. It was especially true following accounts of her opening night show two nights earlier in Nottingham. There the 5'2" dynamo inadvertently displayed one of her personal assets during the high-octane performance of "Va Va Voom". Tonight, in order to keep the visual part of the show PG-rated, some wardrobe adjustments were made and the 'covers' were applied - nipple that is, not songs - that would be all the rage before the night was over. One thing that did not change was the R-rated mouth on Minaj. It remained intact despite the abundance of young children scattered throughout the venue.

Indeed, this Trinidad born, New York raised artist, has been on quite a rollercoaster ride the past few months where her career is concerned. First order of business was the recording of a new album. Second task was to accept the position as a judge for hopeful talent for the upcoming American Idol season taking place over in the U.S. this coming January. The third was her worldwide endorsement deal with Adidas, and the fourth, the launching of her own perfume line. Then of course, there was the details involving a full-production tour.

As if that wasn't enough to keep 'darling nicki' busy, there was the much ballyhooed incendiary spat with fellow American Idol judge Mariah Carey. They matched, or maybe even exceeded, the current feud she has going with fellow hip-hop diva Lil' Kim. Both of these 'disagreements' made news on both sides of the pond, further adding to the Minaj mystique and image. It was that particular allure that drew this capacity crowd into the Echo this evening.

Last year's X Factor semi-finalist Misha B and and Minaj label mate Tyga opened the festivities. Both did admirable jobs warming up the crowd for the well-choreographed chaos that was to follow.

And follow it did.

Video projections of a spaceship hurling through space brought the cheering crowd to its feet. As the object made its way towards earth, the curtains finally opened up to reveal the custom-designed pink capsule - complete with vanity mirror - with the pint-size star inside. Minaj emerged from its confines and proceeded to command those in attendance with the appropriately entitled, "I Am Your Leader". She followed that number with three more tracks from the recently released Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded that included "Come on a Cone", "Roman Reloaded" and the hit "Super Beez". Before the buzz in the audience had a chance to die down, she fired off another round of rap attacks featuring "Did It On 'em", "Up All Night" and "Moment 4 Life."

And that was only the first act. Four more scenes followed.

Believe it or not, there actually was a theme to all the madness (and that's putting it lightly) that occurred on stage. Minaj made numerous costume changes to accentuate the songs she was performing. Couple her outrageous, yet tasteful choice of clothes and hairstyles, with the wonderfully choreographed dancing, and you had a true spectacle on your hands. These complex yet animated stage designs alternated at various intervals from the aforementioned spaceship to a sparkling bathtub and inflatable pink Cadillac complete with dashboard. The props served as useful backdrops to the numerous hits the artist performed.

Rather than give away the show, let's just say the fireworks, elaborate dance routines, shooting flames, spectacular lighting as well as animated projections all enhanced the visual artistry that complimented the wonderful costume changes and songs that went with them. The infamous beehive hairdo also made an appearance. Oddly enough, the live musicians were conspicuously absent from the main stage. With all the action taking place, they could have easily been stashed away under the scaffolding, or tucked away neatly in the wings. Of course, that's running on the assumption there actually were real musicians playing the music. None were introduced, not even a music director.

Perhaps the most poignant portion of the show was the very last part. This time there was no fancy stage design, no costumes, no dancing, just 'to the core' hip hop. Minaj delivered tunes like "Go Hard", "Itty Bitty Piggy" and the night's final song, "Starships" like fine rhyme and it went down ever so smooth with this audience. In return, the crowd raised their voices and nodded their heads as they recited every word the artist spoke right back at her. The moment wasn't lost on the performer who seemed genuinely touched as she bid the audience good night.

There's little doubt that Nicki Minaj is proud to be shameless. Her eccentricities and unabashed attitude toward her profession, and fans, has taken her to career heights beyond the wildest of imaginations. If tonight's show was an indication of what's to come in 2013 from this performer, fans around the world will be smelling, walking and wearing all things Minaj as they wrap their heads around the refreshing rhymes and beats of her new disc.

And don't forget the upcoming fireworks on American Idol. The question on everyone's mind is whether or not Mariah Carey can co-exist peacefully with the outspoken Nicki Minaj, or at worst her inner muse, Roman Zolanski. Time will certainly tell.