Black Eyed Peas @ o2 Academy, 29 October, 2018

The Blacked Eyed Peas formed over twenty years ago and have been bumping out high-octane alternative pop dance hip hop tunes ever since. Now consisting of rappers Will I Am, Apl De Ap, and Taboo and accompanied by The Voice of the Philippines contestant Jessica the group transfer their energetic music to the stage, playing to a rambunctious O2 Academy crowd. In a flurry of sight and sound the Black Eyed Peas wowed fans with their transformational stage, mixing moments of political poignancy with that pure pop dance vibe that have come to typify their sound.

After a double opener the excitement in the room was palpable, fans piling on top of each other trying to reach closer and closer to the stage. In a flash of light and sound the band sauntered onto stage, bounding around like kids hopped up on sugar. With an almost outlaw 90s hip hop feel ‘Back To Life’ opened the night. The three rappers huddled centre stage, cloaked in black a mysterious yet energetic start to the night. Slicing new with old power anthematic ‘Started’ blasted through. The cacophony of sound matched by the vivid stage show as lights flashed around the group.  Fan favourites ‘Imma Be’ and ‘Rock That Body’ found everyone wildly dancing, a state of pure bliss emanating around the room.

The fan favourites continued as Black Eyed Peas launched into ‘Boom Boom Pow,’ “PSA/Just Cant Get,’ and ‘Pump It.’ As Jessica’s vocals floated around the room the intermingling of song tempos continued to produce rapid explosions of energy. Both on stage and in the audience there was an obvious sense of liveliness, Black Eyed Peas came ready for a party and fans were reciprocating with enthusiasm.

After a short instrumental break the group launched into base heavy ‘Dopeness.’ With fists raised in the air ‘Ring the Alarm’ conjured a new excitement for fans who matched the Black Eyed Peas empathic movement with their own. In a powerful and poignant moment of the night midtempo ‘Big Love’ was dedicated to those affected by the shooting in Pittsburgh. The dedication was a subtle reminder that while the Black Eyed Peas craft high energy songs that are wildly uplifting, they do so with a social consciousness that is unparalleled by other bands, a balance between creating entertainment and having a purpose for entertainment.

After ‘Dumb Diddly’ Black Eyed Peas split into a surprising yet exciting solo section. The section found each of the four members taking to the stage to play a specified song, a reflection of their incredible individual talent. Taboo kicked off the solo section with ‘Rockin To the Beat,’ a celebration of life mashed into a rap tune. Apl broke into ‘Bebot,’ followed by vocalist Jessica who put a funk spin on ‘Love on Top.’ Will I Am shook things up, deciding to sing his three songs from the balcony. As ‘This Is Love,’ ‘That Power,’ and ‘Scream and Shout’ floated through Will I Am created a bit of hysteria as he wandered the balcony.

The group returned to the stage, launching into ‘Don’t Stop the Party.’ Insane banger ‘Dirty Bit’ roused fans into hysteria. Midway through the song Black Eyed Peas pulled an eight-year-old fan from the crowd, having her sing part of the chorus, fans went wild for the newest addition to the stage. Another powerful and political focus brought ‘Where is the Love’ to eager fans who sang along with each word, ending the night with ‘Feeling.’

The Black Eyed Peas are inarguable and inescapably entertainment masters. Their ability to craft powerful and poetic songs that are at the same time incredibly energetic is unmatched; this same powerful poignancy permeating their stage shows. Playing to fervent fans at the O2 Academy Black Eyed Peas delivered a truly unforgettable night.

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

Photographer: Adriana Vasile

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