Ah Fiddy, how you appeal to the masses – from tiny pre-teen homies to gangs of too-cool-for-school guys to shrieking girls and bored looking parental chaperones, this audience really has it all. And here they all are, standing in a not quite full arena while Mr Cent keeps us waiting, until finally the room goes dark. On the screen ahead we see pictures of destruction, of a world torn apart, houses and roads cracking up, pieces of rock falling from the sky. Ooh, how very dramatic but then Curtis Jackson (as Fiddy is also known) has recently re-entered the world of movies, releasing a film to accompany his album of the same name – Before I Self Destruct. Then the scene fades into the image of a robotic Fiddy, all metallic eyes and red-hot scarred face. Unfortunately it falls into nothingness as the excitement of seeing our hardcore rapper onstage is tempered by the fact that he appears to be mumbling along to a watery, almost inaudible backing track. Before long thankfully, someone remembers to turn up the volume and we’re away.
Obviously the draw here is Fiddy’s rapping but for a non-enthusiast of the man it’s initially hard to tell the difference between songs. In fact for the first while, it seems like a 30 minute version of some song called -put your hands up’. Understanding the need to get everyone involved is one thing but by the end of the evening the refrain has started to grate. Hey, stop telling us what to do, right!
But even a less than knowledgeable aficionado of Fiddy’s back catalogue could find some delights in the evening. -I Get Money’ from his third album actually sounds better live than recorded. And -Psycho (Before I Self Destruct)’, is 50 Cent at the top of his game, a creepily intense track that gets you moving. Hits are interspersed throughout the night. Sexy, dirty and delightfully innuendo filled, there’s -Candy Shop’. Oh and there’s -P.I.M.P.’, complete with our main man adored in a hat fitting to the profession, followed by the catchy ‘Hate It or Love It’. Sing along now – ‘Hate it or love it the underdog’s on top. And I`m gonna shine homie until my heart stop’. It’s all fabulous fun if you don’t take it too seriously which one hopes 50 isn’t doing either as he stands on stage post-P.I.M.P. arms folded, surveying his kingdom and grinning like the Cheshire Cat. However, -Technology’ is a song that suffers from the lack of its guest vocalist but then it would be a tad too much to hope that Justin Timberlake would appear from the eaves.
Instead we have Lloyd Banks, Fiddy’s trusty sidekick, who provides interesting musical interludes throughout the show while the man himself disappears backstage to change into another self-titled tee. A romantic at heart, Lloyd treats us to a slow and sensual version of -Let’s Get It On’ during one such interval but destroys his charmer cred by later asking who in the crowd smokes weed. ‘I can’t hear ya, I said DO YOU SMOKE WEED?!’ It’s hard to know what’s more embarrassing, the question or the over exciting hopping about of those desperate to stick their hands in the air. Indeed, there are a lot of cool kids in the crowd tonight. Sadly no one thought to tell them that while Fiddy walks about clutching himself wearing his baggy designer pants, it looks a lot better than some skinny Dub with their hand wedged down a pair of grey Fruit-of-the-Looms but it’s the thought that counts.
Anyway, for ardent fans and casual observers, -In Da Club’ is just as good as you’d hoped it would be. The song that catapulted 50 Cent into the public consciousness is all funky bounce, synth and memorable raps, swelling the crowd into a mass of bumping and grinding. Ah 50, you’re too down on yourself, with a show like that, you’d be worth a euro at least.
Photos by Sean Conroy.