On Friday 25th February, Tinie Tempah performed to a sold out London crowd at Hammersmith Apollo in his biggest headlined concert to date. Disturbing London – the name of Tinie’s label imprint – served as an apt description for the packed show which saw 5000 teenagers, a sprinkling of industry heads, and his parents all in attendance.
The show opened with a VT (multimedia visual) on a huge screen above the stage as the band played Tinie in. A consistent feature throughout the show, the VTs shown on the onstage screen were instrumental in enhancing the sensory experience of the night, with many videos shot or visuals built specifically for the tour. The young popstar emerged onstage performing his debut album Disc-Overy’s intro cut. Following with “Simply Unstoppable”, Tinie bounced around the stage energetically. As pyrotechnics fired up behind them, Ellie Goulding joined Tinie and the band onstage to perform his latest single, “Wonderman”.
After performing a few more album cuts including one of my favourites, “Snap”, Tinie broke into some scheduled audience-participation time, in which he signed a Dope Chef t-shirt and tossed it in the crowd (when will artists stop doing that? All it does is cause a whole lot of pushing and grabbing in the already-tight audience), and a light-hearted play off between his DJ, Charlsey and his band. Charlsey and the band “battled” with Taio Cruz’s “Dynomite”, Far East Movement’s “Fly Like A G6” and Swedish House Mafia’s “One (Your Name)” – the latter which presented the perfect segue into Tinie’s track with the Swedish dance producers, “Miami 2 Ibiza”.
While the laser lights conjured an ethereal feeling and the sparse, dense techno-house production whipped the crowd into a frenzy, the performance of “Miami 2 Ibiza” gave me a sense of understanding about why dance pop – a scene I know little about – is dominating globally.
Arguably Britain’s biggest breakout pop star last year, Tinie (real name Patrick Okogwu) has achieved a tide of success since the release of his February 2010 single, “Pass Out”, including releasing a platinum selling debut album, performing at Glastonbury with Snoop Dogg, and culminating with scooping two Brit Awards at this year’s ceremony.
The magnitude of his achievements aren’t lost on Tinie, a point that he made clear to express throughout the show. Along with the VTs showing his progression and successes over the year, Tinie also shared a story about his first time attending the Brit Awards in 2010 and holding Ellie Goulding’s Brit while hoping that he’d eventually have one of his own. Bringing a fan up onstage to hold his own two gongs, he urged the audience to chase their dreams unabashedly before performing the Kelly Rowland assisted “Invincible”.
“Written In The Stars”, the track with probably the strongest ‘stadium sing-along’ sensibilities followed the boys onstage toasting to Tinie’s success with liquor, while Tinie segued his verse on the official remix to Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” with the night’s penultimate track, “Frisky”. Tinie’s seminal, breakout cut, “Pass Out”, brought the show to a climatic end, as the crowd excitedly chanted the chorus with the rapper.
During the set, Tinie gushed about being one of the few UK (“urban”) artists to sell out Hammersmith Apollo. However, considering the growth of his career and the showmanship displayed last Friday, I predict that the next time Tinie Tempah headlines in London he’ll be talking about selling out venues even larger than the Apollo – he’ll be in the city’s arenas.