50 Cent, Wembley Arena, London
Wednesday 24 March 2010
It's obvious that 50 Cent is so rich he doesn't have to bother with producing a show that goes beyond the usual pyrotechnics, a generous donation of his clothing to the crowd (including a leather jacket, destined for eBay) and a quality beginning, middle and end. But you wish he would; 50's music might be lyrically dire, but the production is usually enticing. Playing with the arrangements and taking a few more creative risks could have worked in his favour – if only to prove his four albums haven't been in vain.
Still, to judge by his fans, he could recite the alphabet and still be exalted. The show kicks off with an animated clip of a "robo-50" wreaking havoc on a city somewhere, swiftly followed by "The Invitation", the opening track from his recent album Before I Self Destruct. Herein begins a monotonous first quarter of song snippets, delivered way too quickly with the help of a DJ and relying heavily on what should be called "sidekickography"; the practice of having compadres on the stage to add a flurry of bravado and hype to a performance, so that the main attraction appears a million times better. The most 50 brings is his glossy six pack. He's not much of mover and sticks safely to a two-step shuffle and a vertical, arm-waving body bounce, walking back and forth across the stage with the lazy gait of a man heading towards 40.
Fortunately, he's got an extensive back catalogue of rap-a-longs that work for a night like tonight and the acoustics in Wembley are so bad, that his references to shooting people ("Crime Wave") and shooting more people ("Psycho") don't sound too disturbing. The smashing "Baby By Me" and "In Da Club" come with a live band – which smacks of "See? I can be creative!". It's a shame they don't stick around for the whole night, especially as they add a bit of spark to latter parts of the show.
Interaction with the crowd is quite limited too, until 50 decides to go at least 30 minutes over time, which, as his DJ points out, will cost him £12,000, and suddenly puts on an impromptu new set. Kids are brought on stage to dance with him (total faux pas) and he sets about performing whatever is left in his DJ bag in an act of defiance which might have been more entertaining had it come an hour and a half earlier. By this time, the show has lost its way; it sums up an evening so lacking in originality, it'd probably be more fun watching him count his money.
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