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N.E.R.D - E.X.C.L.U.S.I.V.E Confidential plays host

Lynda Moyo bonds with Pharrell, goes gigging with him and then takes him for a Chinese meal

Written by . Published on August 21st 2008.


N.E.R.D - E.X.C.L.U.S.I.V.E Confidential plays host

When N.E.R.D announced they would be performing at Manchester Academy, it came as a shock – a very welcome one – to fans. Pharrell Williams has after all, just made it onto the Forbes rich list, which lists him as the sixth highest earning hip-hop cash king of recent times. Only 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Diddy, Kanye West and Timbaland stand before him. Still, with a cool $20m in the bank, it seems he couldn’t care less about lists or the lavish life.

In a surreal moment, we witnessed Pharrell Williams insistently wandering down Oxford Road and back up again, after discovering that this is not America and therefore McDonald’s closes by midnight.

N.E.R.D kicked off their evening in Manchester signing t-shirts from their Billionaire Boys Club/Ice Cream clothing range at Life on Old Bank Street just off St Ann’s Square. 35-year-old front-man Pharrell Williams ran into the store clutching a SpongeBob Squarepants Lego man. Fans queued all the way down the road, clutching their t-shirts and waiting to spend a few minutes with the band in the small shop before their scheduled gig at the Academy.

As expected, the gig was a sea of screaming, sweating fans fuelled by an animated performance from the group. N.E.R.D were supported by new band Chester French, who you might have heard of due to the fact that the lead singer Max has recently married Peaches Geldof. Peaches was rumoured to be loitering backstage like a good little teenage wifey.

N.E.R.D were welcomed to the stage with a flying pair of knickers to which a cheeky Pharrell commented “nice colour.” The band played all the hits including ‘She wants to move’, ‘Fly or die’, ‘Rockstar’ and latest songs ‘Everyone Nose’ and ‘Spaz’ (in the UK this song is now to be known as ‘I'm right here’ so as “not to offend any spastics”, according to Pharrell).

After the concert, Pharrell and the gang decided it was time to eat. One ‘promoter’ kept suggesting a liquid lunch in Panacea. But this is Pharrell Williams not a Manc businessman. Concerned that a Lego-clutching man-child such as Pharrell may not quite ‘get’ Panacea, I recommended a place to get good stodgy carbs after a long evening's work when you’ve got a sore throat. The one place no one would expect, no paparazzi would guess and where people will be too busy scranning to notice you. Why, Tai Wu of course.

A weary Pharrell wasn’t immediately convinced as he scanned the menu on the glass door front. Easily drawn in by the visible golden arches he said: “I can’t really have a sit down dinner. I’m sweaty from the concert. Let’s just get a McDonald's man.”

Ok, so Tai Wu is no Ithaca, but it is no McDonald's either. Nonetheless, in a surreal moment, we witnessed Pharrell Williams insistently wandering down Oxford Road and back up again, after discovering that this is not America and therefore McDonald’s closes by midnight. Back to Tai Wu, and as predicted, not one person bothered him. There were two Chinese birthday parties on so the only thing the other customers were interested in was the Tai Wu birthday song. A comfortable Pharrell ordered chicken fried rice, egg fried rice and prawn dumplings. The bill for him and six people came to £50. Ben, his bodyguard, said: “Dayumn, we should eat here every night, y’all. £50 – now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.” Pharrell picked up his doggy bag and said “Thank you for inviting me here” before heading off to the Lowry Hotel.

This is the second time this year that an American rap star has ventured into Manchester city centre looking for food. Jay-Z dined like a king in Ithaca back in July and left a very happy, full man. Pharrell left just as happy and just as full from the lower scale Tai Wu. Clearly Manchester has something for everyone. From the small store signing to the small-scale gig to a late night Chinese take-away, Pharrell is as down to earth as they come and that just makes him that bit more likeable. So next up – 50 Cent at the Koffee Pot. Watch this space.

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21 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

RossAugust 21st 2008.

Pharrell, what a legend. He seems pretty down to earth and a stroll down Oxford Road in search of a Macky D's says it all! I was at the concert last night, and despite the fact he was losing his voice and probably not up to his usual standards, it was still a great performance from a talented guy!

WowsaAugust 21st 2008.

All i can say Lil Miss Suzi is you obviously have your own issues...maybe a therapist will help or even the Samaritans...sort yourself out and one day you might become Lil Miss Happy, here's hoping for your sake!

Dave BishopAugust 21st 2008.

Wow, you take one of the biggest stars in music out, and end up in a restaurant that has been shut due to repeatedly dirty kitchens.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/7200629.stm…

Lil Miss SuziAugust 21st 2008.

Ha-ha, you call yourself a reporter? He was in Ithaca and snapped wearing a Manchester united scarf coming out with his band members, he then turned right and walked down to panacea. What’s a witter? I thought this area was called rants??? I'm ranting not wittering.. In fact I wouldn't even call it a rant; I would call it, correcting your inaccurate report. Lay off the wine Mr. Garner, why would you respond "who gives a sh*t?" When obviously Manchester not so confidential does give a sh*t, hence the aforementioned article!!! Come on Gordo, don't be a hypocrite, your contradicting yourself in black and white!!!!! Finally I don't care what arni tells the publisher nor do I care for him or his venue or any other establishment in Manchester. I'm just stating the facts. You obviously dont take kindly to being corrected, is that just authority issues, arrogance or ignorance? ;-)

Gordo 2August 21st 2008.

Mind you who gives a sh*t?

DaveAugust 21st 2008.

I guess if you wanted to avoid going to Tai Wu (which has previously been closed for cockroaches) then you could always head to Rusholme... for more cockroaches..

BLEECHAugust 21st 2008.

and back to the point... NERD were ACE. Full on hip hop mosh...I'm just psycing myself up for putting my skinny jeans i peeled off back on

DaveAugust 21st 2008.

He probably didn't have much choice at that time of night - what else is open? Allen's Fried Chicken?

JenAugust 21st 2008.

Can't agree on the greatness of the gig, I'm sorry. They came on half an hour late, no apology, and then spent another 5 to 10 mins sound checking. They were scheduled to play for one hour 10 mins- not worthy of the £35 ticket charge. I estimate they played music for roughly 40 mins- the rest was spent doing the 'call and response' stuff, getting their backing players to do long instrumental solos and getting the crowd to yell things that would make great sound grabs for MTV who were filming the evening. Don't get me wrong, I love NERD's music, but this wasn't a gig, it felt more like a celebrity appearance with the guys playing a bit of music to keep the crowd onside. Really disappointed...

GordoAugust 21st 2008.

Lil MS, this Pharrell feller never went near Ithaca or Panacea, Lynda was with him all day. What are you wittering on about? Apparantly Arnie was telling the Publisher he was in Ithaca, but was telling porkies.

secret squirrelAugust 21st 2008.

Yeah post midnight in town your sit down options pretty much are Chinese or....Chinese! Unless you want kebab/pizza/cicken.

Lil Miss SuziAugust 21st 2008.

Pharrell dined at ITHACA in the day and had a drink in PANACEA, why wasn't that reported? Tai Who? TaiPoo more like!!!! Google them and see how many times their kitchens have had health and saftey issues. Ithaca, Wings or San Carlo all day long for me, even the boring grill on the alley but tai woo come on!!! Ge tyour stories right Gordo, you seem to be slacking... One of the above venues has a "posh" guest on Friday evening... Leave the rest to your not so precise reporters

AnonymousAugust 21st 2008.

Naynay- if u were any kind of fan you'd actually have realised that one member of the band wasn't even there. It was only Pharrell and Shay.

NaynayAugust 21st 2008.

Yeah Pharrell was brilliant so were the other two members who do actually make up the rest of the band!! N*E*R*D all the way!!

museAugust 21st 2008.

I have been to two of the gigs in London which was great. The manchester show was ****! fact.Chad the cool dude was missing but everyone nows he has a wife and family, the tour over here has been going on for a long time. He has more responsibility.Pharrell and the other guy's were a bunch of dicks backstage. I've met Pharrell before in America my boyfriend is a musician and knows them all, his personality has changed so much. It's gone to his little head. Everyone knows he likes head!!muse

AvoAugust 21st 2008.

The talk in my gym was that he also comped a bottle of champagne for a few pretty girls when Ithaca first opened! Is The Angel still limited to a basic blackboard menu or has it become more extensive?

GordoAugust 21st 2008.

Avo, we are talking Arnie Hira here, the day he comps anyone will find Gordo walking down Deansgate naked. Fan bloody tastic meal at The Angel last night by the way folks, R.O.B. is on fire.

Jangly manAugust 21st 2008.

Dave, everybody knows Pharrell loves cockroaches...where've you been?

Lynda MoyoAugust 21st 2008.

Lil Miss Suzi- I have no idea if Pharrell was at Ithaca or Panacea in the day, but I do know for a fact he and his colleagues ate at Tai Wu after the concert because I was there. It is an accurate report.

AvoAugust 21st 2008.

Tai Wu! Home of the gelatinous and untuous Dim Sum! Hey Gordo, I told you it was good!Anyway, I heard on the grapevine that when Jay Z dined at Ithaca, the whole bill was comped anyway so he didn't have to pay a penny.

GedeyeAugust 21st 2008.

Lynda we had THE best time ever!!!

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