Before entering Nicki Minaj's
concert we were under the impression wigs were best reserved for Sherri Shepherd's weave collection and Bert Newton's scalp. Turns out we were wrong. Hisense Arena on Friday night had a post apocalyptic vibe similar to The Hunger Game's
Capitol city, with pink wigs, fake eyelashes and pastel-toned lips everywhere. It was as if a MAC
counter had exploded. Even 200 metres from the stadium, it was clear that tonight's odds would be in Minaj's favour.
Following an emerging pattern we're calling 'insert ex-Australia's Got Talent/The X Factor
-finalist-here syndrome', Timomatic
had been chosen to provide preliminary entertainment. His chiseled body and Usheresque sensibility were a favourite among the ladies and left dudes questioning their Nutri-Grain diets. Singing Rihanna's 'We Found Love,' Mr oMatic transformed Hisense Arena into a Docklands' waterfront club, complete with crowd unabashedly letting loose. Some girls even had to Hollywood tape their aforementioned wigs back on their scalps.
At nine o'clock on the dot Nicki Minaj was ready to earn her buck, materialising in papal robes as Archbishop of the Hisense diocese. The multimedia duplex stage projected the interior of a church with stained glass windows and flames and her backup dancers formed a clergy. The audience silently said their Hail Marys knowing the Book of Revelation
was about to be unleashed. Yes, Mattel's limited edition Lucifer Barbie was in the fun house.
Three. Two. One. Minaj and her posse disrobed, revealing mismatched fluoro lycra ensembles straight from Cyndi Lauper's Glory Box. The stage now projected an urban/ghetto graffitied street scene and all signs of Catholicism were kicked to the curb. There would be no Gregorian chants tonight.
Opening with 'Roman Holiday', 'Did It On Em' and 'I Am Your Leader', Minaj then took a moment to romance the audience. "You look amazing and smell good," she told us. Let's hope she wasn't doing market research for her soon-to-be released perfume
, because the reality was that Hisense Arena smelt like an eau de parfum composed of BO and bratwursts. Seriously, no amount of natural fibre could stop the sweat storm. The crowd was fist pumping and Minaj and Co. were krumping and the only thing missing was sporadic squirts of Ambi-Pur to quench the stench.
After 'Beez In The Trap' and 'Right By My Side' a quick costume change saw Nicki reemerge in a Sophia Grace tutu before addressing the audience at gun point. Relax, it was one of those Barbie G.I. Jane turbo guns filled with water, and she proceeded to spray it at the audience. This ADHD Barbie was off the mother-effing hook, loving life and declaring, "I will never forget you Melbourne, I will sign your boobs and all that stuff...and your penises" (Ken must have had reconstructive surgery since the late 90s, otherwise there totally would have been nothing to sign). Teasing the audience, she then said "You might know this song". Cue dramatic pause when 'Starships' ensued and everyone went cray cray, followed by 'Pound The Alarm' and 'Whip It'.
Approaching the end of her one hour set, Minaj decided to slip into "something a little more comfortable" a la a pink dip-dyed Rapunzel Barbie corseted gown. She put this on because she wanted to invite us into her home. The stage transformed into a Barbie Mansion just like the one you regret giving away to the Salvos. It was incredible. There was even a life-sized pink plastic bathtub. This time she launched into some of her hybrid rap-ballad classics, at which point things got deep, Nicki confessing, "One time some one broke my heart and I wanted to KILL them. Is that bad?" Which offered the perfect segue to 'Fire Burns'.
It was now finale time and the audience was filled with a despair not felt since the first time an older sibling decapitated their favourite doll. One last costume change and Minaj and her backup dancers came out like the illegitimate children of MC Luscious
and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Nicki holla-ed at her homies, "Who wants to win some money?" The Presbyterians still confused by the religious opening said "no", everyone else was unanimous in shouting "yes!" Inviting three audience members to freestyle a verse of 'Bottoms Up', Nicki awarded them first, second and third and gave them all a few notes of mint-fresh cash before appropriately capping off the night with 'Turn Me On' and 'Superbass'. Since Friday, cardiologists have been trying to trace the root of irregular heart mumurs still beating 'boombadoomboomboombadoomboom'.
Lisa Marie Corso