When arriving at the O2 Arena for the concert, there were long queues for each entrance, showing clearly that the concert was sold out. The last time J.Cole was in London was for his show at Hammersmith, where he announced that the next time he was in London, he would perform at the O2 Arena, which is exactly what he did.
The opening acts
London showed Pusha T a lot of love whilst he was performing on stage, as they knew every word for each track he performed. He performed ‘New God Flow’ and ‘Runaway’. Everyone was standing up, no one was seated as they enjoyed the rapper’s performance. He ended with ‘Move That Dope’ and his verse on ‘I Don’t Like’. The crowd were energetic the entire time.
(Pusha T performing ‘New God Flow’)
(Pusha T performing ‘Runaway’)
After a 15 minute intermission Jhene Aiko appeared on stage in her iconic long dress. The crowd welcomed her on stage by lighting up the dark arena with their phones, setting the mood for her smooth performance. She told the crowd; “Flawless and perfection is what you are expecting, I’m not gonna give you that , it should be about connecting with the audience, so I’m going to express myself and give you that.”
She performed her verse on Omarion’s hit ‘Post To Be’. her verse from Drake’s ‘From Time’ as well as performing ‘The Worst’, from her EP Sail Out. She ended with ‘Spotless Mind’ from her album Souled Out.
(Jhene Aiko performing ‘The Worst’)
(Jhene Aiko performing ‘Post To Be’)
Personally I believe Jhene Aiko is a talented artist, however her vocals live and her stage presence are not good. Even when she opened for Drake last time he was in London, she had the same issue. So hopefully next time she is in London, this could be improved as she is a good artist, therefore her live performances can then be strengthened.
By the time J.Cole graced the stage, all the seats were filled, everyone had arrived to see the main event of the night!
He started of his performance with ‘January 28th’, going in order of his latest album 2014 Forest Hills Drive. His stage set up included a black banner on the DJ decks table saying Forest Hills, and he had a backdrop, which was of his background on his album cover, to create the whole theme of his album visually on stage. As he performed the whole album, he narrated the whole way through, as the album is the story of his life growing up, so before each song, he told the story of the song he was performing and why it was created. This is something that has not been done before, so the uniqueness and originality that this concert contained is what made it such an incredible performance.
(J.Cole performing ‘Fire Squad’)
For his track ‘St. Tropez’, he told the crowd that he needs to share something with them. “I have to be honest with you guys, I have to let you know something, I don’t even know where St Tropez is, I just know it is for rich people, so this song is a metaphor.”
J. Cole went on to say “It comes from coming from a small city, small town mentality, you see places like St Tropez, London, Paris etc and you tell yourself you want to go there one day, it is a dream, people are stuck in a small mentality. they don’t leave the town their in.”
This song is suppose to represent J. Cole breaking that small mentality as he left home as a teenager to go to New York to make his dreams in music come true. He explained to the crowd how he went through a hard time, as everyone kept turning him down, even when he had MySpace he messaged every record label and no one listened. Now he is here today, so he went on to say; “Never give up and now karma has come back around as people even from London send me messages saying to listen to their music, as it is the hottest shit out there and I actually go on SoundCloud and listen to their music, and it is shit, I think I wasted 42 seconds of my life that I wish I could get back, but either way, never give up your dream as someone will believe in you.”
Then J.Cole went on to talk about the first music he put out, including ‘The Warm Up’ and ‘Friday Night Lights’, so then he went on to perform the classics ‘Lights Please’, ‘In The Morning’, Nobody’s Perfect’, and then he said it’s time to continue with the album schedule again.
He continued to perform the album with ‘G.O.M.D’.
(J.Cole performing ‘G.O.M.D’)
He then performed ‘No Role Modelz’, where he told the story of Hollywood females, majority of them being a certain way, and he was not holding back anything as he mentioned the track was in fact about “hoes”. He went on to tell the story of a particular woman who was on Instagram , and it was full of pictures, which made guys thirsty, and he even said “You see a thirsty n***a like me would be on that Instagram too” and he acted out the last picture she posted as he said “her bathroom was messy as hell, like I was thinking the least you could do is clean it up, but she was holding the camera high to get the angle right and was wearing this thin lingerie bikini outfit, where if you zoom in you could see 3% nipple, and she had a caption that had nothing to do with the picture, and I was thinking damn she can read, she’s perfect.” Then he explained if you take off everything she had on her face, that was artificial, she wasn’t nice at all and he wanted to help her but he did not, and this song was for her.
(J.Cole performing ‘No Role Modelz’)
After he finished the album he thanked the crowd for being so amazing for him and then he went off stage, as the arena went dark and a few people starting making their way out, I knew the night was not over, as he still did not perform a few classics. I was right as he came back on stage a minute later to perform ‘Can’t Get Enough’, ‘Work Out’ and ‘Power Trip’. He said he saved the best for last as London was the best show he had done for his European tour.
(J.Cole performing ‘Work Out’)
(J.Cole performing ‘Power Trip’)
(J.Cole saying London was the best show)
I cannot wait for J.Cole to come back again to London, because each time he comes back, he gets even more better as a performer. Everything about him, from his energy, to his stage presence, he is so talented and incredibly humble.