Concert Review: Nicki Minaj single-handedly shuts down Pittsburgh

This June 29, 2014 file photo shows singer Nicki Minaj performing at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
This June 29, 2014 file photo shows singer Nicki Minaj performing at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Out the gate, Nicki Minaj emerged from an elevated stage floor in all black with a veil drapped over her face at the First Niagara Pavilion on Saturday.  Spooky is an understatement to explain the reasoning behind kicking off a worldwide tour with such a gloomy presence.

But, first during her set and first on “The Pinkprint” is “All Things Go”, a song that deeply coincides with love, lost and redemption.  It makes sense for her to perform that song masking a sense of mourning and grief.

She almost pulled a J. Cole by performing the entire album. But, she missed “Favorite” with Jeremih, which happens to be one of my favorite songs on the album.

This concert made me realize that I might really be a fan or at the least, an admirer. I knew every single word, from her 2009 mixtape “Beam Me Up Scotty” to her latest studio album.

She knows how to make a city feel special. From bringing up two fans up on the stage to  enticing the crowd with city-inserted ad libs, Pittsburgh proved to be a shrine of devoted Nicki Minaj fans.  She yelled out, “Pittsburgh, won’t you save me,” and the crowd cried out in relief.

Notice, I did not mention the other prelude acts to Nicki’s big showdown: Rae SremmurdTinashe, and Dej Loaf.  Admittedly, I underestimated the travel time due to the extended chaotic closures of 376 West. I missed all of those acts.  Although I heard I did not miss much.

Meek Mill (Photo by Merecedes Howze)
Meek Mill (Photo by Merecedes J. Howze)

I did make it time for Meek Mill though. After the rough week he had, it was adamant that I witness him live in concert.

Nicki Minaj’s love bug was on stage briefly; maybe 10-15 minutes. This short performance comes days after Meek Mill initiated a rap beef with Minaj’s label mate Drake.  As you many know, the Canadian rapper fired back to Mill’s late night tweets about alleged ghostwriting with “Charged Up” and “Back to Back”.

Meek Mill (Photo by Merecedes J. Howze)
Meek Mill (Photo by Merecedes J. Howze)

Meek exchanged some more words in his musical response “Wanna Know”.  It was a major flop.  But, here in Pittsburgh, Meek Mill performed his verse from Yo Gotti’s “F*** You” with conviction.  A coincidence?  I think not!

Overall, Nicki’s portion of the concert was hype, inspiring and sexy.  My only direct feedback was the many wardrobe changes.  We already waited more than a hour for her to hit the stage. Please don’t waste our time with four intermissions to accommodate Diana Ross inspired clothing changes.

And of course, the rumor mill was in full swing because as Meek Mill left the stage Nicki Minaj referred to him as her “baby’s father”.  Now, everybody thinks she pregnant. I’ll believe it when I see a baby.

meek2
Meek Mill (Photo by Merecedes J. Howze)
Merecedes J. Howze, Movie Scene Queen (Brian Cook/Golden Sky Media)
Merecedes J. Howze, Movie Scene Queen (Brian Cook/Golden Sky Media)

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