Concert Review: On Kendrick Lamar’s Live Show, To Pimp A Butterfly, and Setlists
“I got a bone to pick!”
It quickly became the line of the weekend. Across the Sasquatch! campsite festival-goers everywhere were jamming out and rapping along to Kendrick Lamar’s impeccable album To Pimp A Butterfly, specifically the ferocious single ‘King Kunta’. So when Kendrick opened his set on the main stage with a steady stream of tracks from Good Kid M.A.A.D City, I thought to myself that Kendrick was saving his best for last, and that the Sasquatch! crowd was in for an epic night.
For two fans in the crowd, this was an incredible understatement.
After playing ‘M.A.A.D. City’ twice back-to-back during his set (once for each demerit point), Kendrick took the time to spotlight a pair of fans who seemed to know the lyrics, inviting them up onstage after proving their rapping ability while shown on camera.
For the record, this was a fantastic way to reward a couple of fans who fought to get to the front row, and ‘Lou’ and ‘Peyton’ killed it, but it was also an incredibly time-consuming routine. There’s a time and place for everything, but the middle of a feature set at a major festival is not the time to earn some cool points with an already massive fan base.
So while two fans were treated to the night of their lives, given the chance to rap onstage with a legend, the rest of the crowd were left to rap the lyrics of To Pimp A Butterfly to themselves.
Ironically, ‘Alright’ was the only song from To Pimp A Butterfly that found its way onto Kendrick Lamar’s Sasquatch! set, but I highly doubt the majority of fans nodding their heads in approval to Pharrell’s hook.
The obvious omissions, namely ‘King Kunta’, ‘i’, and ‘Blacker The Berry’, seemed to have been replaced by the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th plays of ‘M.A.A.D. City’. And as much as I have tried to build excuses for the decision, like a pending To Pimp A Butterfly tour, or a one-off attempt to connect with fans, I just can’t agree with the song selection at all.
As a whole, of course, Kendrick Lamar was great. He spat fire just like he did last summer at the Pemberton Music Festival, but after skipping his recent singles I can’t help but wonder if Kendrick is giving his live performances the attention his recordings seem to reflect. I waited patiently for a tardy Lamar to perform last year at Pemberton, but after another disappointing festival set, I’m still waiting to have my doors blown off by a mortal man that has graduated from the King of Compton to the King of Rap in a few short years.