Kendrick Lamar isn’t known for his extravagancy or flamboyancy. Despite his superstar status, he has remained largely formal and reserved — and last night at Perth Arena, with the repeated mantra "Ain’t nobody prayin’ for me" and fifteen thousand fans declaring the same line back to him, he seemed genuinely at peace and thankful that, for a mainstream artist such as himself, he could still rouse a crowd of adoration amongst the sea in the stadium.

Kicking off his first show in the Australian leg of the DAMN. tour in Perth, the show started with a sensei-style video of Kung-Fu Kenny, which held the title of him ‘studying the mothafuckin’ greats’. It was comedic and cheeky in nature and set the scene for the rest of the show — that although he is a rapper who can pack a punch of lyrical dexterity with extreme politicism, self-examination and ultimately eternal damnation, he was there to shake it off and just have fun.

Starting with DNA. and moving through to ELEMENT. and YAH., it was an arena of frenzy and madness. Each line was gut-wrenching and hard-hitting as you would expect, and from here on in it was a rapper who wanted to show us he could be a Kung-Fu movie star, as well as a rapper who demanded the presence of the entire stage. Being cast as the black belt turtle fighting the snake in his short films played regularly throughout, his agile movements and crowd engagement put the live band he was backed by to rest. It was easily a one-man show.

The highlight of the evening was Kendrick performing LUST., where he ascended at the front of the stage, pyrotechnics appearing to lift him from inside a caged, red box from underneath — before appearing at the top and Money Trees was echoed throughout the stadium.

HUMBLE. had the entire stadium drown out Lamar’s vocals as he stopped one third of the way into the song and had the crowd rap the entire second verse back to him, a capella. Lamar stood motionless, his eyes scanning the crowd, himself soaking in the energy. It was the most wonderful, containing moment, where inclusivity moved to intimacy as he was genuinely thankful for each fan who had come out that night to engage with him.

He finished the show with an encore, explaining that GOD. was his "favourite joint off the album". It was a large, sweeping statement which ultimately embodied what Lamar stood for, and with the stadium dotted with mobile phone lights and swaying arms, his anthemic nature showed that the rapper who studied the greats exhibited nothing but majesty himself.

Splendour In The Grass 2018 Feat.
North Byron Parklands, Wooyung
Kendrick Lamar + SiR
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park
Kendrick Lamar + SiR
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park