Lisa-Marie Ferla verdict: four stars
Those who would judge hip hop as having less cultural cachet than other art forms have clearly never seen Nicki Minaj in concert.
Touring in support of 2014's The Pinkprint, the Trinidadian-New Yorker eschewed the party hits - at least until the end of the night - in favour of some of the more emotive cuts from her latest album. The first section of the four-part show in particular, which opened with the autobiographical and deeply moving "All Things Go", was closer to a carefully-plotted opera than a pop showcase: and, much like opera, it didn't really matter when you couldn't make out the words over the thudding bass because the story was obvious.
Loading article content
Words, of course, are Minaj's currency, and she had no intention of being tight with them. "Feeling Myself", the album's collaboration with Beyonc�, was a raunchy demonstration of the MC's vocal acrobatics, while "Lookin' Ass" and revenge anthem "Did It On 'Em" found her spitting words like ammo in a pair of sparkly knee-high boots and a shrapnel-covered bra. The dancers may similarly have only been in underwear, but together they looked like the most fearless girl gang of all time.
Later on, Minaj slowed things down in a hot pink halterneck dress, accompanied by a piano and two gospel singers. Heartbreak ballad "Pills n Potions" featured a breathtaking vocal performance, while Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded's "Marilyn Monroe" gave me chills.
But there was still time for pink tutus and party hits, fashioning a makeshift kilt from a tartan blanket passed up from the audience and changing the words to "Super Bass" to reflect how Minaj "really got a thing for Scottish boys". By that time, the feeling was mutual.