While he made his grand entrance for the people of Birmingham on Wednesday, the 23rd of March, there was no doubt that energy crew were in the house that night. Stormzy had the best view in the house as he emerged slowly from a lift at the top of the stage to the very bottom, performing “Big Michael”. When he demands energy, that’s what he gets in return.
Everyone went wild as Stormzy got even closer to the stage and was within arms length of his fans. There wasn’t one person not singing along to every word and this is what everyone had been waiting for.
With it having been two years since he was due to tour his second album, Heavy Is The Head, in which this tour was in support of, Stormzy threw in a mixture of songs, including “Audacity”, “Know Me From” and “Cold”. Only being a few songs in so far, the genuine excitement from both Stormzy and the crowd is pretty much equal. Plus, the pyro and the visuals behind him made for even bigger production.
Announcing that he was working on brand new material, finally getting to perform it live was like a well deserved send off before opening a new chapter. The door wasn’t fully closed though as every song performed was received with amazing reception. Singing every song word for word, there were times where the crowd were louder than Stormzy, especially with crowd participation being a huge part of his shows.
Running from one part of the stage to another in a matter of seconds, fans were able to scream the lyrics up close to the very person who made this moment possible. The whole arena was taken on a rollercoaster of emotions. “Do Better”, “Crown” and “Rainfall” showed how versatile Stormzy can be, not only as an artist, but as a performer too and it doesn’t go unnoticed by the excitable audience.
Bouncing around stage for the first half of the show, Stormzy switches things up with a stirring gospel-soul section that introduces a full live band, featuring no less than six backing singers. “We’re going to create some memories tonight,” he declares. “I want everyone to leave here with a little bit of joy in their heart.”
The arena cannot contain their excitement as the beat drops for “Wiley Flow”, pyro goes off and the crowd go wild for “Big For Your Boots”.
Fans started throwing items on stage, including a leopard print bucket hat and white framed sunglasses, of which Stormzy caught with ease and sported that look while covering every inch of stage performing one of his hit singles, “Shut Up”. Singing the ad-libs as well, this was one that the whole arena was waiting to hear.
You can’t help but smile with closing number, “Vossi Bop” where the crowd don’t need an ounce of encouragement to shout “F**k Boris!”. Whether seated or amongst the crowd of people standing in front of the stage, the round of applause for Stormzy was well deserved and long overdue.
Every single reaction throughout the whole show was genuine. Continuing to forever make his mark in the industry, it won’t be long until fans hear new material and get to experience an amazing live show like this once again.
Words and photography by Sarah Akomanyi