I have a confession to make. I love arena shows. The bigger the better! I know that intimate performances are considered cooler, but there’s something about the ridiculous energy and overblown excitement of an arena that I can’t get enough of.
It might have something to do with the fact that I’ve never been into sports. I feel like the same atmosphere that sports fans have described to me, is the one I get from waiting for some mega-star to hit the stage. Everyone on high alert, with even the smallest sign of activity evoking shrieks of excitement. A few too many camera lights arousing suspicion in one section of the arena creates a virus of tiny lights across the crowd, FOMO-fuelled as they desperately fumble to capture the activity (it just happens to be two girls dancing in the aisle.) An arena show is perhaps the only environment that has grown men and women screaming with delighted approval for the removal of a black curtain, while they sip on a medium Coke that cost them £4.
Another reason that I love arena shows is that, despite my career as a music writer, I rarely get to go to them. This is the trouble with specialising in hip-hop. Although it’s the biggest genre of music in the world right now, it’s also one of the most diverse, and rarely does an artist achieve the kind of star power that allows them to headline an arena. The culture’s most successful crossovers tend to headline O2 Academy’s, and its the same handful of names that I get to experience in arenas every couple of years.