Kendrick Lamar is finally back, in Toronto after a 4 year absence. As a huge Kendrick fan, it was my number 1 priority to get tickets for his concert, after a Toronto date was announced. Luckily, it was just a few days before my champagne birthday, so what better way to spend it than watching my favourite rapper perform.
I have been going to every show Kendrick has performed in Toronto since 2011, and in total have been to 3 of his own solo shows, and 1 where he opened for another artist. This would be my fifth time seeing him live! At first, when the dates were announced and ticket sale date, I was curious of what I was going to get. Would I jump on really great seats, or just whatever I can get? Then I saw the VIP packages… with a meet and greet! I was ecstatic! I had met Kendrick before, back in 2012 when he was doing a tour to market the upcoming release of his debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city, but it was such an accident, and unexpected that I did not like the way my picture came out. So when I saw these VIP packages, I knew I had to jump on it, and make it count.
Thankfully, I was able to secure the tickets, and as well, they were front row, center stage. They were most definitely the best seats in the entire arena. Now these tickets were bought since April, so it was quite a long wait until the actual show. Fast forward to 3 days ago, and the time had finally arrived. Meeting Kendrick again and also seeing him preform two albums worth of material I haven’t heard live yet, this day was going to be great!
We had to arrive at the venue before 5:00 pm, in order to attend the meet-and-greet, or there would have been a chance we would miss it, if we were late. Yea right! We got there about quarter to 5, and waited, and waited, and waited… We actually did not get taken down the meeting area until about 6:15ish. And from there it was about another 15 minutes before we got to meet Kendrick. Everything was quick and fast, and we were not allowed to use our own cameras, or get anything signed (sucked). But the experience itself was great because I had a custom shirt made, and he loved it! He read it out, and told me “Ah, I like that! That’s a dope tee!” I quickly shook his hand, sat down, got my picture taken, thanked him for coming back to Toronto, and told him I was looking forward to the show before leaving. It was definitely a much quicker experience than when I had previously met him, but still amazing that he was out here meeting his fans still, even though he has blown up so much. The first time I met him it was much more relaxed, and chilled out as he was not that well known yet, so he took the time to sign stuff, and talk.
After meeting Kendrick we were allowed to hang out in the lounge area for the next hour while everyone was given a free drink, and free appetizers. We definitely tried to eat as much of the free food as we could cause… hey it’s free! Lounging in the area was good, and the food was actually quite tasty. They also had a photo booth, and a DJ playing music. Overall it was a great time, but was just the beginning as we were ushered out around 7:45ish to head into the arena for the show.
Opening for Kendrick was Dram and Travis Scott. I have never heard of Dram before, nor any of his songs, so I was quite bored during that performance. Thankfully it only lasted half an hour. Shortly after, Travis Scott came out and performed for about 50 minutes, running through a selection of his hits. I will be honest, that even though I knew who Travis Scott was, I only heard one of his songs before the show. But after seeing the hype and energy he brought to his performance, I think I will make an effort to check out his other songs. After Travis wrapped up his set, it wasn’t long after before Kendrick came out. One thing I must commend is that everything (performance wise) was on scheduled time. Usually with Hip-Hop concerts, there is always delayed, and artists running late.
The entire show was phenomenal, and definitely one of my favourite concerts… and I’ve been to a TON of concerts in the past. One thing which I was surprised about was that he didn’t play any of his old stuff. From the previous concerts he would have a couple tracks from his independent/mixtape releases, but this time he didn’t. Everything was from his last three albums, with majority from his most recent release (which was expected). Another thing that surprised me about the performance was that it was completely different from EVERY other show I have been to, with the fact that he had no band, and not even a DJ on stage. Even at small venues, I would see the DJ in the background, but for this show, nothing! The only time someone other than Kendrick was on stage, was when he had 1 or 2 Kung-Fu fighters on stage (theme of the show). Otherwise it was just Kendrick, and a mic! The entire show lasted for about an hour and a half, and he performed every track flawlessly. Brought so much hype and energy to the arena that one part people started cheering so loud he couldn’t do anything for about 2 minutes straight. Hands down, it was my top concert ever! I am so happy that I went to it, and did the whole VIP experience. Truly worth it!