Saturday 25 May 2019

Nicki Minaj at 3Arena, Dublin review: 'The production is flawed - it sorely lacks pace and punch'

Recording artist Nicki Minaj performs onstage during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards
Recording artist Nicki Minaj performs onstage during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards
Nicki Minaj counts Enya among her biggest influences, believe it or not
Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Deadmau5 and Kanye West at the launch in New York yesterday of the new high-fidelity music-streaming service Tidal
Nicki Minaj's Anaconda single cover
Nicki Minaj The Pinkprint album cover
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Nicki Minaj is smack bang in the middle of a European tour, but she still found time to fly to New York to support the high profile launch of Jay-Z's new streaming service Tidal, which was announced with such a sickeningly sanctimonious star-studded ceremony you'd swear a bunch of multi-millionaire musicians had just brokered world peace.

Minaj shows no signs of jet or tour lag while performing in the 3Arena in support of her third album The Pinkprint, but there is a noticeable lack of engagement with the crowd, whom she only acknowledges about half an hour into her set.

The opening numbers are flat and lack the spark and pzazz you'd expect from such a flamboyant pop star. Minaj is the only woman to feature on the Forbes Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, earning $29 million between June 2012 to June 2013, Curiously, this doesn't appear to translate into brisk box office in Dublin, as there are plenty of empty seats in this cavernous auditorium.

There are fleeting moments when she is on fire. It is patently obvious to see why she is considered to be one of the best rappers in the world, as she dazzles with her breathtaking flow.

However, the production as a whole is flawed. It sorely lacks pace and punch. Sometimes, it halts inexplicably for a few moments to facilitate a costume change. Watch any live show from the likes of Beyoncé or Kylie, and you’ll witness a textbook lesson in how to achieve this without losing any momentum whatsoever.

It says it all when Minaj announces that The Pinkprint is her "most personal album". This is done via a video clip rather than in person. A good executive producer, stage manager and art director would surely inject some shape and slickness into this lacklustre show, which is ultimately frustrating and a little disappointing.

To be fair, Minaj still knows how to impress, as she flashes an endearing megawatt smile between songs. She somewhat compensates for a lack of crowd engagement by inviting two fans on stage.

Plenty of people in the balcony seats are dancing like crazy, which makes it more of a pity that her show meanders unnecessarily.

'I'm a vulnerable woman and I'm proud of that' - Nicki Minaj 

For 'Bang Bang', Minaj doesn't even bother to sing onstage. Last summer's number one smash hit with Ariana Grande and Jesse J is played out over the PA, as her dancers dispense with souvenir t-shirts and thongs. It sums up just how far short her live show falls.

Minaj is still an extremely talented performer, it's just a pity that at this Dublin stopover she isn't a brilliant one.

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