Concert Review: Kendrick Lamar

File Photo - By Doug Peters

File Photo - By Doug Peters

By Lisa Diedricks

Artist: Kendrick Lamar

Date / Venue: Thursday July 19th, 2018 - Spark Arena, Auckland

 It’s been a long week, Auckland has been patiently waiting for this day for quite some time now. Tonight was the long awaited arrival of the legend himself, Kendrick Lamar. The man who knows his crowd. More than 10,000 fans of the Grammy and Pulitzer prize-winning hip hop artist danced, sang, moshed and chanted at the Spark Arena.

At 31 years old, Kendrick, who came out as his latest alter ego 'Kung-fu Kenny', dressed in a black kung-fu outfit to complete the theme, fired through into a version of DNA from his fourth-studio album, DAMN, released last year. And when I say fire, I mean literally as the fire bang gave us all the jolt we needed to get the party started.

Stage credit has to be given this time round, with mini movies playing the background - the samurai, and dancer making their debut, and of course the fire and smoke that just gave the show that extra OOMF that it deserved. Even though I was alone this time around at a show, I seriously did not give a… yeah... the man stole my breath away with his craft, and can say that the second time seeing him was just as good as the first!

Many the of the Compton bred’s hard-hitting tracks like M.A.A.D City, and King Kunta shed lights into the political and social truth and struggles facing African-American communities in the 21st century. They seemed to be crowd favourites, as many of the true OG Kenny fans know where his heart really lies and what he cares to really talk about in his art.

The show included 18 songs, including Alright, Humble and some sweet covers of Goosebumps and Collard Greens. Jam packed in just over an hour, immersed with a kung-fu video featuring Lamar himself, a live stage dancer and samurai sword wearing assassin.

The live band, hidden in the wings of the stage, added the touch that we never knew we needed and gave it this feel of a block party, that EVERYONE happened to be at. It was incredible to watch one man work an entire stage and captivate everyone all at once. Spark Arena doesn’t usually have the greatest reputation for acoustics for live shows, but this time round I thoroughly enjoyed every part of the show in relation to its sound. For the rest of the night it was all about Kendrick and the crowd never stopped jumping.

DNA, Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe, Love, and Alright were my stand-out tracks, as he got intimate with the audience with his perfect and genuine energy in every delivery. Rappers today don't come more relevant than Lamar, who always leaves a lasting impression on those lucky few that get to watch a true and genuine gifted artist of his craft in action.

The night ended with an encore and two versions of the number one hit All The Stars. Before leaving the stage, Lamar gave the fans the thanks and admiration for what we added to his opening Auckland night.

"There's always an energy in here, you guys always bring it!” He was pretty much drowned out by the stamping roar of the crowd thanking him back.

Kendrick Lamar is se to play one final show at the Spark Arena in Auckland tonight - Friday July 20th