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Black Eyed Peas gig review

Charlene McAuley catches up with the BEP’s at the Bacardi VIP arena

Published on May 25th 2010.

Black Eyed Peas gig review

The Black Eyed Peas rolled into the city on Sunday with their The E.N.D World Tour 2010, sponsored by Bacardi. First playing in Manchester in 1999, the four member line-up have since gone on to be a global success, creating songs that are niche yet catchy with lyrics and beats that aren’t only floor-fillers, but anthems.

Before The E.N.D World Tour kicked off last September in Japan, Fergie said they were "trying to up their game", which the Black Eyed Peas not only did, but as the Geordie one would say, they absolutely “smashed it”.

With a high quality back catalogue to fall back on, the Peas could’ve let the tunes do the talking, taking the opposite approach to the Britney Spears-type all-dancing, miming, umpteenth costume changes showcase.

Those who’ve seen them perform live before would’ve known better.

Now here’s a confession: before the gig, I was more excited about seeing the support act that is Cheryl Cole (or Tweedy?). Opening her set with Fight For This Love, the crowd gave a cheer and sang along to Chezza’s part-mimed, Janet Jackson-esque performance, which unfortunately was the highlight of her session. I felt like the crowd was willing her to push a little harder to turn her increasingly lacklustre performance into the one we all witnessed on the Brits, but it just wasn’t meant to be. On reflection, the costumes, which conjured up memories of family holidays to Butlins in Skegness, were a direct indicator of the quality and effort put in. Stripped of all the smoke, lasers, and pyrotechnics – FYI, 99.9 per cent of the props budget must have gone to the BEP - Cole struggled to craft an on-stage presence minus her four mates from Girls Aloud, with the Mexican wave in between the support and main event doing more to warm the audience up.

All the above was a distant memory after the first 30 seconds of BEP’s opening song, Let’s Get It Started. As lasers, mist, and robotic dancers filled the stage, Will.I.Am, Fergie, Apl.De.Ap, and Taboo made it clear who was the main event tonight. Clad in Balmain-inspired attire and supported by masked dancers in red rubber all-in-ones, the Peas just kept churning out hit after hit to the thousands of eager fans.

Despite Willie being the mastermind, the others stood their own when it came to the solo pieces. Fergie, flanked by two burly “Cuban but their gentlemen” guitarists belted out the girly favourite Big girls don’t cry, along with G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S, Glamorous. Apl.De.Ap was all about the dance moves, doing a spot of breakdancing, while Taboo made his entrance arriving, like you do, on a motorbike in the air. Will.I.Am flexed his DJ skills on a 20-ft or so mounted deck, spinning a bit of Guns and Roses, Michael Jackson, Eurythmics, and House of Pain’s Jump Around sending the crowd below into a frenzy of arm waving and bouncing.

With the arena now filled with love, it was time for the Black Eyed Peas debut single, Where Is The Love?, which took me back to my Timberlake (who was originally on the song) loving days, followed by the futurelicious Boom Boom Pow. Before The E.N.D World Tour kicked off last September in Japan, Fergie said they were "trying to up their game", which the Black Eyed Peas not only did, but as the Geordie one would say, they absolutely “smashed it”.

The Peas have proven they were made for live shows, with no genre left unexplored; all that was left was to place the BEP flag in the MEN Arena and sign out with I’ve Got A Feeling, which left everyone knowing that tonight was a good, good night.

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