Tinie Tempah at the O2
Tinie's first concert at the O2 arena was sold out in under two weeks. Here's why
Tinie Tempah at the O2
The O2 is undoubtedly an impressive venue and though being seated on level 4 sounded miles away from the stage, the sound and structure of the arena meant we were totally immersed in the concert.
J Cole preceded Tinie and - as he rightly pointed out - "some of you here might know me but many won't". I was one of the latter group. But he was a pleasant surprise - clever lyrics, good beats and catchy tunes. Plus as a person he came across well - thanking the crowd,telling us about his new album. Which apparently is number 1 in the States.
Then it was time for the man himself. I was still trying to not feel too awkward being in an audience half my age. I'm actually amazed so many parents are happy to have their children sit through hours of expletives and lyrics which discuss women, suicide, sex and violence. Having a ten year old next to me shouting 'I don't give a fucking damn' as his mother smiles proudly is - well - not a regular Friday night occurrence for me.
Tinie's stage was fairly basic with pods resembling playground climbing frames on stage to give separate stages to the musicians. There were a few pyrotechnics thrown in for good measure and some psychedelic lighting but I liked the fact that he performed without creating an elaborate visual show around him. The jacket he came on with was atrocious and made him look like Stig of the Dump but it came off after two songs. And actually the jacket represented for me his less good songs. It went on again near the end when he performed one of his new songs for album two - Offspring - which seemed too much like screaming angrily into the mike.
So onto the main body of the show. Which was unquestionably brilliant. Tinie held his own in the enormous venue. He was suitably in awe of the massive crowds and used us to his advantage, getting us singing, shouting and taking photos altogether for 'Snap'. Wonderman had a particularly beautiful slow intro before climaxing into the main body of the song and Tinie just stayed silent for one chorus of Written in the Stars as we all boomed it out at top volume.
One of my favourite parts was when he went into the crowds to a small stage in the centre/ back of the arena for some slower tunes. One was Invincible, which was fantastic. The other though was a new song where we all sang along. Remembering the audience was for the most part well under 15, getting them to sing 'I love suicide' slightly chilled me. But it was a good song and nice to hear some of his lesser known work too.
Miami to Ibiza (which became London to Ibiza) got everyone jumping and I totally lost my inhibitions and joined in the jumping up and down wildly. Then the encore was Pass Out - which left us buzzing. It had been a high energy show which no one wanted to end. One of the best bits was the commentary by Tinie which made him so personable - jump on the 472 to Plumstead and you get to his mum and dad's. He had past the O2 when he was at college and dreamed of the day he would be there. He had been working out to prepare for the show (we never got to see his abs as promised!). It was a pleasure to be supporting a south London boy who has made it big.
I would highly recommend seeing Tinie, especially if you are above 15 - the lyrics hit home, the songs are mesmirising and you can't help loving him as a first class performer - the music and the person.