Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nicki Minaj turns the SM Mall Of Asia Arena into one super concert party, says Manila reminds her of home

Title: Nicki Minaj turns the SM Mall Of Asia Arena into one super concert party, says Manila reminds her of home 
Written by Jamie Ortega
Photos by Magic Liwanag Photography

As a music blogger,I am very fortunate to have been exposed to all types of music, but I must admit I will always have a soft spot for hip hop and RnB. What makes me like this particular genre so much? I love their swagger, their bling, their sass, but what gets me the most are their straightforward lyrics. RnB artists don’t usually resort to veiled metaphors to say how they feel, they just put their heart on their sleeves, translate it into a song, and make millions of people fall in love with it.

RnB superstar Nicki Minaj is exactly like that, plus she is one of the hottest names in the music industry-if you weren’t in on that fact let me help you right out of the rock you’ve been under: She is the only female solo artist to have seven singles on the Billboard 100 all at the same time, plus her hit single Super Bass has sold more than four million digital copies as of May 2012, making it one of the best-selling singles in the US.

You can probably imagine my excitement when I trooped to the SM Mall Of Asia Concert Arena last July 11, 2012. After two and a half hours travel time (thanks to the hellish traffic), I couldn’t wait to party the night away. And boy, was I glad I made the trip! Nicki turned everyone in the arena into little “Barbz” and “Kens,” (the rapper’s names for her fans) as she performed hit after hit. Unlike other concerts that usually take forever to start, it was a few minutes after 9 pm (yay!) when a curly-haired Nicki hit the stage. Wearing a black robe while holding a crystal –encrusted microphone, she kicked off the show with the single “Roman’s Revenge”. The crowd didn’t waste a single second as they started to dance while waving their glow sticks upon hearing the first beat.

Nicki removed her robe for her second number, “Did It On Em.” Beneath that robe was a neon polka-dotted green bolero, pink polka-dotted shorts, printed pants, and denim bustier. “I’m so honored to be in the Philippines for the first time it true that the Philippines has the more beautiful women in the world?” was one of her first spiels. The audience, of course, agreed enthusiastically!

Nicki decided to play with her back-up dancers for her third number, ”Moment For Life”, by  prancing and dancing around them. Before launching into her next number Nicki asked the crowd,  “Did you guys come here to party?” A question that was met with matching cheers and applause. The party atmosphere reached its’ peak with the songs “Turn Me On” and “Where Them Girls At”. As soon as the two songs were over Nicki immediately threw party favors to the crowd.

One of my favorite Nicki songs is “Fly”, an empowering anthem that features her and Rihanna. I was kind of disappointed, however, when Nicki wasn’t able to perform it live, instead a DJ situated onstage played the song while the rapper changed into a new outfit, a white sleeveless top, a white skirt and white boots.

Nicki quickly made up for that sad moment by performing another of my favorite songs next, her popular hit “Starships” with her “Barbie dream house”  set-up at the back- a diorama complete with a fireplace, window, a painting,  and book case (as a Barbie lover myself I wanted to jump right in!) Another awesome aspect of the concert was whenever Nicki talked about the inspiration behind each of her songs right before she performs them. For “Fire Burns” she revealed to the audience, “It was for a guy, I had my heart broken and I wanted to kill him.” Another tune, Save Me, was, according to Nicki, “For a boy whose heart I broke.”   
I love good old audience participation, and this show had that, Nicki-style of course!  The rapper brought three girls to the stage and danced with them. Before the girls left the stage Nicki asked a photographer to take a picture of them- a gesture which I thought was very sweet.  What was also sweet was how Nicki showed Manila some love by saying, “Make some noise Philippines! Manila, I have to tell you, I will never forget you. You will be forever in my heart. This place reminds me so much of Trinidad. It’s absolutely beautiful.” (Nicki was born in Trinidad and Tobago, the rapper moved to New York City when she was only five years old.)
The rapper showed off her playful side towards the end of the show by pretending to leave the stage before performing her biggest hit to date, “Superbass”. Is there anything that I missed? Thank you and good night!” she joked. She, of course, sang it, while wearing her final outfit for the night, black pants over leggings dotted with animal prints and red boots.  Even if she wasn’t able to perform her encore set despite crazy shouts of “more,” from the audience, Nicki made up for it by going back onstage and showing up in a pink robe as she blew kisses to the audience. It was the perfect ending to a night filled with dancing, grooving, glitter, pink,  awesome tunes, laughter, and smiles- beautiful things that make life SUPER worthwhile.

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