Blast Off! Tour
Genres: R&B, Hip-Hop & Reggae
Review Date: March 10 2020
Performance: March 10 2020
Location: M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
Performers: Fatman Scoop, UK Garage Allstars, Blu Cantrell, Mya, Eve, Salt N Pepa, Shaggy & Nelly
Age Rating: 18+
Duration: 270 Mins
Presented by the radio station KISSTORY, Blast Off! Tour made an unforgettable stop-off at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena.
Essentially a festival held within the confines of an arena, Blast Off! Tour provides fans with a chance to listen to some of the most famous R&B, hip-hop and reggae artists from the 1990s and the early 21st century. Hosted by Fatman Scoop (who had an unbelievable amount of energy thus making him the perfect person to introduce acts and to cover transitions between performers), this was an epic show that lasted more than 4 1/2 hours, which is extremely long for an arena show. That being said, the running time went by surprisingly quickly due to the variety of the different artists, the awesome set list that included plenty of recognisable tracks from down the years, and the general enthusiasm of the singers, dancers, DJ and of course the audience, who were up for having the time of their lives.
UK Garage Allstars were first on-stage, followed by Blu Cantrell, but it was the arrival of Mya which really began to turn up the audience’s attention and volume. Her enthusiasm was contagious, helped by some killer tunes, the most notable being Lady Marmalade. Between songs, Fatman Scoop was introducing DJ tracks ranging from Aerosmith and Gwen Stefani to Justin Timberlake and Tupac, as well as asking the audience to follow him on Instagram (once or twice). Most notably, though, it was at this point that he raised the roof with a goosebump-inducing performance of his most famous hit Be Faithful. If for some reason you weren’t invested into the show at this stage, this particular part of the evening will have switched your mood, because it was something that I will not soon forget.
From there, we moved to Eve, and Ruff Riders was the most memorable tune that she offered during her segment. After that, it was time for “some seasoning”, in the form of Salt N Pepa; we got to hear their most famous hits Whatta Man, Let’s Talk About Sex and Push It, but it was only in the case of the latter where the leading performers actually sung the lyrics, which was a slight disappointment. Then came what was for me the highlight of the evening as Shaggy took to the stage with a great set that included Mr. Boombastic, Oh Carolina, Angel (which particularly had me thinking back to the great summer of music that was 2001) and of course Wasn’t Me, as well as his unexpected yet upbeat cover of In The Summertime (which he released in 1995). And then we rounded things off with almost an hour of Nelly; by this point, the audience were getting tired due to the length of the production, but this musical legend managed to squeeze the remaining drops of excitement and vigour that they retained, with such classic hits as Hot In Herre, Ride Wit Me and, as our encore, Dilemma.
The word that perfectly describes this show for me is “energy”. All of the performers were truly up for putting on a great night of entertainment, and they also seemed to be thrilled in Liverpool, with each acknowledging the city in some way (Shaggy emphasised that Liverpool FC are imminently likely to become Premier League Champions, which got the expected big cheer). Not forgetting Fatman Scoop, of course, whose drive and passion were unmatched in any live music show that I have seen to date. He also had some noteworthy advice when discussing the current worldwide health scare caused by Coronavirus: “Don’t be f—ing afraid to live your f—ing life!” Yes, there was plenty of swearing throughout the show, meaning that this is absolutely not a show that you should take the kids along to!
The running time was an issue for some, with many arriving around an hour or so into the evening, and quite a few having to leave early. But those who stayed for the duration were rewarded with so many incredibly catchy hits, some of which stand as flashpoints of the music industry in the 1990s and the early 2000s, though I can imagine there being a lot of sore heads (and sore feet for that matter) today! It was also a very loud show, with the audio being of the highest volume imaginable, but again this only served to motivate people to sing and dance like their lives depended on it.
This show will not be for everyone due to the adult nature of the lyrics, the huge length of the evening and the continuous strong language, but for those who grew up idolising the likes of Nelly and Shaggy, Blast Off! Tour was an amazing event that lived up to and surpassed expectations, and is an easy recommendation for anyone who remembers and fondly reminisces about this incredible period in musical history.
Target Audience: Adults Aged 18+
Content: Very Frequent Strong Language, Some Sex References
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding
For more information about Blast Off! Tour, click here.