music entertainment

Live in concert at The O2 East London

Beast magazine's man about town, Adam Davidson gives us the lowdown on events at East London's O2
Travis Scott
Photo: Sony Music

Travis Scott

The two hotly anticipated shows at London’s 02 Arena mark Travis Scott’s first headline shows since the Astroworld tragedy in November 2021, which saw a crowd crush cause the accidental deaths of 10 people.

Even before the show had started, the anticipation for La Flame’s big return to the stage was palpable with hour-long queues at the merch stalls and a general vibe of excitement around the 02 Arena. This continued for a couple of hours and it reached a climax when the lights dimmed and the curtains dropped to reveal a breathtaking unique set as Travis Scott was on top of a spaceship suspended in mid-air to perform ‘Hold that Heat.’

The ‘ragers’, the collective name for Travis’ fans, were in full force tonight as the Houston rapper went on to perform ‘HIGHEST IN THE ROOM’, ‘Butterfly Effect’ and ‘Stargazing.’ The visual effects for this show were something special with pyrotechnics, smoke cannons and lasers creating an immersive and unique experience to compliment the contagious energy of Travis Scott and the mosh pits in the crowd.

After the Astroworld tragedy, Travis and his team were taking extra precautions to avoid any injuries and incidents and this was clear as he stopped before ‘Mamacita’ to check on the crowd.

There were also performances of more recent releases like ‘Praise God’, from Kanye West’s Donda, which sequenced into the unreleased ‘God’s Country’ which was meant to be featured on that album but is now believed to be on Travis’ upcoming fourth studio album ‘Utopia.’

The evening had been fairly relentless with high octane songs coming thick and fast but Travis slowed the tempo down with ‘Skeletons’, ‘90210’ and ‘Love Galore’ which allowed those in the standing section to momentarily recover from the mosh pits. Then for a random addition to the show, Travis Scott brought out Davido to perform a couple of songs whilst he took a quick 5-minute break. It didn’t feel like a right fit but regardless it was an enjoyable section as Davido brought great energy to the crowd during his performance of ‘If’ and ‘Fall.’

Travis Scott came back on stage with even more energy to perform ‘GATTI’, ‘Franchise’, ‘Biebs in the Trap’ and ‘Yosemite.’ The show finished in style as the rapper got back onboard his spaceship to perform ‘Sicko Mode’, his collaboration with Drake, and ‘Goosebumps’ as pyrotechnics and lasers lit up the Arena one last time. Travis thanked the 02 for putting on the event and said that hopefully next time he comes to London it will be at Wembley Stadium.

After witnessing the beauty and carnage of tonight’s show, the 90,000-capacity stadium isn’t out of the question for the Houston rapper as he is one of the biggest artists in the genre and is guaranteed to put on an incredible show for his ‘ragers.’


WWE live at the O2

WWE brought an electrifying night of entertainment to London’s 02 Arena as part of its post-Wrestlemania four-date European Spring tour. Before the event there was a huge buzz around the arena with families and wrestling fans walking around with replica belts and merchandise. Those in attendance were excited for the opportunity to see some of the biggest stars on WWE’s roster in action from Sasha Banks, Bobby Lashley, Shaemus, Charlotte Flair, Drew Mcintyre and Roman Reigns.

There was also a special appearance from superstar Ronda Rousey in her first appearance in the UK since 2018 as  the former-UFC champion was beaten on the night by Charlotte Flair.

One of the highlights of the night was the tag team match between RK-Bro and The Usos which involved WWE legend Randy Orton, who is celebrating 20 years at the franchise. After delivering an iconic RKO and victory, Orton went around signing posters and taking selfies with fans, a true class act.

The atmosphere was incredible all night but it reached a new level for the main event as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns defeated Scotland’s Drew Mcintyre in a thrilling contest. Chants of ‘Oh King of the Table’ to the tune of The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army echoed around the arena as both superstars seemingly revelled in the occasion, taking their time and letting the anticipation grow in the ring. After his victory Roman Reigns took the opportunity to thank the crowd, saying: “Ya’ll know how to make your Tribal Chief feel special.” WWE proved a success yet again as fans of all ages enjoyed a night of entertainment of the highest order at the 02 Arena.

Seven Worlds, One Planet

seven worlds o2

Bafta-winning TV presenter Steve Backshall hosted the one-off concert based on the popular BBC documentary series presented by Sir David Attenborough. The concert featured video and music highlights from the TV series, including flirting Jumping Spiders, fireflies creating a light show in North America and Wild Hamsters who have bitten off a bit more than they can chew!

Hans Zimmer’s immersive score, performed by the Seven Worlds Symphony Orchestra Worlds and Choir and conducted by Matthew Freeman, encapsulates the danger, beauty and pure drama of the natural world as every animal fights for survival on a daily basis. The music was unmistakably a Hans Zimmer score and he used the music to match the movements of the animals or a particular mood that the scene wanted to capture. For example, when the ??elephant bull seals were introduced the music and tone were reminiscent of the introduction of the villainous Baron Harkonnen in Dune, another Zimmer soundtrack.

The night ended with a stark reminder that the biggest risk to the life of these animals is the human impact. However, it was intertwined with hope as conservation efforts have ensured the survival of dwindling species but it’s up to us to keep this up. Then shown on the screen was a compilation of nature at its finest, with the orchestra’s fantastic lead singer performing ‘Out There’, a collaboration for the documentary by award-winning artist Sia and Hans Zimmer.

Simply Red East London

Simply Red

Even at the age of 62 and suffering from long Covid, Mick Hucknall shows no sign of slowing down, with a recent energetic performance at the O2, says our man about East London, Adam Davidson.

The set opened up with ‘Home’ and it was clear from the opening song that despite the lead singer’s health problems which he addressed on stage, he was going to put on a show for the London crowd.

Hit songs came thick and fast with ‘For Your Babies’ and ‘Holding Back the Years’ played back to back. It was quite extraordinary to hear the raw power that Mick still has in his voice, some things just don’t change!

The whole stadium got up to sing the band’s classic ‘Stars’, there was a real positive atmosphere throughout and it was enjoyable hearing the audience sing every word. Many people have been to concerts since the pandemic but it is still a beautiful thing to see big crowds of people having a good time again.

The concert burst into life halfway through as Simply Red performed upbeat classics ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Something Got Me Started.’ The whole of the O2 got up to dance along with Mick who was in fine form, it felt like he was feeding off the energy of the crowd or vice versa.

The band came on for an encore to perform ‘Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)’, ‘Ain’t That a Lot of Love and ‘If You Don’t Know Me by Now.’

Simply Red showcased real versatility in their songs from soft ballads to reggae beats and disco. Mick Hucknall showcased why he was one of the greats in the pop/soul genre.

Find upcoming events at the O2 here




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