Now he’s in some stratospheric orbit occupied by a select few, it seems strange to look back on a ticket that shows Pharrell and his merry men from N.E.R.D rocking up at the Academy.
This was a weird one all round to be fair.You got the sense that it was really only fulfilling some promotional UK duties, especially as it lasted just over an hour and only about threequarters of the time involved any actual songs.
I’m not even sure now that Chad Hugo was there on the night.
I’d gone along with two friends, Matt and Dave, who I also went to see a Public Enemy show with that summer – I suspect some kind of anniversary tour.
I would have said that was immaterial to this gig, but what both acts proved was that what are essentially studio productions of rap and r&b can sound spectacularly good live when accompanied by a full band.
When N.E.R.D kicked in with Rock Star, Lapdance, Everybody Nose and She Wants to Move, their greatness was unquestionable, and a wildly excited audience needed little encouragement to join a late stage invasion.
It was over all too quickly, unfortunately, and you were left with a curious mix of elation and deflation.Another half an hour and a bit less filler call and response would have elevated this show no end.