Kendrick Lamar has always been one of my bucket list performers. Ever since I stumbled upon good kid, m.A.A.d city when I was around 13, I knew I had to see this man no matter what. After years passed and new projects continued to drop, the time had finally come. The DAMN. Tour. Did I spend an inexcusable amount of money? To my mother, yes. To me, absolutely not. This is King Kendrick we’re talking about.
Upon arrival at the venue, the anticipation and excitement among fans was instantly apparent. The sea of people was dotted with mustard shirts and the occasional kung fu headband, two of Kendrick’s most recent trends with the release of DAMN.
Before the main event began, DRAM and YG graced the stage, playing some of their biggest hits to get the crowd warmed up. DRAM’s set included “CHA CHA” and “Broccoli”, while YG performed classic party jams like “Who Do You Love?” and “Why You Always Hatin?”
After the opening performances, it was time. Nobody wanted to wait another minute. Sure enough, the house lights dimmed, the crowd erupted in cheers, and a classic, kung fu inspired film began to play.
Lamar is a powerhouse performer. No extravagant light show or smoke machine could distract the audience from his commanding presence. Lamar had not visited the 813 since 2013, when he opened for Kanye West on The Yeezus Tour. Throughout the show, Lamar mentioned this fact, saying the show had to be “extra lit” to make up for lost time.
While the show centered around his most recent studio project, DAMN., Lamar pleased fans by incorporating favorites from good kid, m.A.A.d city, To Pimp A Butterfly, and untitled unmastered. The latter of those albums being Lamar’s most underrated project in my opinion, but that is another debate for another day. In addition to his own nonstop bangers, he snuck in that infamous “Mask Off” verse, which made the already wild crowd go absolutely berserk.
About halfway through the set, whispers began to spread down my row that our seats were going to moved. Sure enough, our row, along with a few others, was selected to surround the small stage in the center of the venue. Minutes later, Lamar exited the main stage, and my mind was on the verge of explosion just thinking about what was about to go down four feet in front of my eyes.
In this moment, I truly felt a part of something. A part of something big. Everyone around me, everyone in the venue, myself, Kendrick Lamar. We all seemed to share one energy that made me think about something greater. The power of Lamar’s words. Whether people were cheering or not, everyone was listening with full intent.
In addition to the mustard DAMN. tee that I purchased from the initial online march drop, I was eager to see what items TDE would bring on the road. Along with classic tees, hoodies, and hats, an angelic, white windbreaker blinded my eyes in the most beautiful way. Needless to say, that is what I left with.
Throughout my concert “journey” thus far, being able to check Kendrick Lamar off my bucket list was the most satisfying feelings. I got to share the room with one of my top five, and wholly understood why he will forever be the king of the game. Now, I hope to one day see Lamar in a festival setting. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.