A Love Letter To Live Music

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Nicki Minaj // Birmingham Arena, 2019 – Tayler Finnegan

The DJ’s pounding bass shakes the cobbled streets under the cold Midlands sky. Thick clouds of smoke billow from the city’s honest industries and borrowed ciggies.

Wednesday evening is Pink Friday as thousands of fans snake along Birmingham’s narrow streets. The atmosphere abuzz with the realisation that global rap star Nicki Minaj is breathing this same hazy air.

Girls in full glam are towering above the crowds as they totter along the canal path. Uninterested brothers and boyfriends are dragged along—trendy Tommy Shelbys in their flat peak caps. They’ll deny it later but they will have a blinding night. They yield, assuming their role: personal photographers and chief drink-buyers. Destination: King Edwards Road. But tonight the city belongs to these excited queens.

The arena’s interior resembles the inside of Barbie’s wardrobe as fans spill into seats. Minaj appears in a burst of pink smoke to rousing cheers. Her setlist packs a mighty punch; every line and flow reverberates around the tiers. Tears there are, as the megastar introduces to her adoring audience a local icon—one Lady Leshurr. In a moment for the history books, one thing is clear: real queens fix each other’s crowns.

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