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Headie One at Wembley review: A good-natured homecoming for the London rapper

·2-min read
Headie One  (Ashley Verse)
Headie One (Ashley Verse)

On the last night of Headie One’s Edna tour, his closing appearance at Wembley Stadium was perhaps a case of relying a little too hard on pomp and circumstance to big things up. He emerged onto the stage at around half past nine, at which point the venue erupted into a frenzy of snapchatting and excitement. Coming out in an all-white three-piece tracksuit, he opened with album cut Teach Me, a choice which left the energy of the crowd slightly muted. Still, things were big; almost from the off the audience was treated to copious pyrotechnics and on-screen visuals that included a 3D rendering of the artist’s head. It added some nice flash, but couldn’t fully make up for a show that periodically failed to really capture its audience.

With Headie, his hype man and DJ on stage, the first few songs struggled with the odd moment of teething problems; the artist ended up slightly off beat at times, often fiddling with his in-ears to supposedly rectify the issue. Still, the London rapper’s legendary status in the genre - and the city - did its job, with the crowd hyping itself up as time went on, boosted by a star-studded list of guest appearances. First to appear was M Huncho, followed by Mahalia, Young T and Bugsey, Haile from WSTRN, Skepta, AJ Tracey and Headie’s fellow OFB member RV.

Highlights of the night included Princess Cuts, the party-ready vibe of which quickly got the crowd moving and came with an impromptu mini dance break from Headie when egged on by both backup dancers and guests. Mega-hit Golden Boot was blended into the resounding drill anthem Know Better, additionally bolstered by a strong feature on stage from RV. The effect of the latter track - one of Headie’s best known - was momentous, and virtually everyone in the venue rapped along word-for-word.

Some of the more muted moments could be forgiven due to circumstances; this was a rescheduled date of the Edna tour after COVID called the early iteration off, and the artist’s set was missing many newer releases that might have performed better as a result, though that shouldn’t have been hard to rectify. Despite a few ups and downs though, Headie was an appreciative performer and spent most of his time onstage with a good-natured grin on his face, remarking: “It’s been a movie in every city all over the UK.”

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