Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday World Tour Pops Open In Sydney: Concert Review

Nicki Minaj launched her glitzy Pink Friday world tour on Wednesday (May 16) with a sold-out show at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion in Australia. The set list was heavy on the 29-year-old’s upbeat dance tracks and crossover pop hits at the expense of the Twitter quitter’s early rap anthems; her debut album and mixtapes were almost entirely ignored. The commercialization of Roman was apparent in the show’s surprisingly camp staging: There were mirror balls, gold lamé costumes, shirtless male dancers and a even conga line. It made for a visual feast, but the 65-minute extravaganza needed more of the music — and attitude — that made Nicki famous in the first place.

The first lady of Young Money kicked off with show with a half-mimed, half-rapped version of “Roman Holiday”. She appeared majestically on a pyramid of stairs wearing a long, hooded robe and blond wig, reminiscent of her infamous Grammy performance. But in the context of a pop concert, the song got the sea of rabid Barbz fired up. Nicki ditched the robe to display her trademark behind in lime-green leggings and delivered a smattering of hip-hop tracks including “Did It On’em”, “Stupid Hoe” and “Beez In The Trap”. The game’s hottest feature-creature even threw in her memorable verse on Big Sean‘s “Dance (Ass)”. Onika was clearly in her element, exuding confidence and control as she spat rhymes and interacted with the crowd.

Next up were solo renditions of “Right By My Side”, “Champion” and “Moment 4 Life”. Nicki doesn’t need her male collaborators to make these songs work, and her dancers impressed with crisp choreography. The concert was starting to build a real sense of momentum until the Trinidadian diva left the stage for her first costume change. A DJ spun records in her absence but the transition between segments was labored and became increasingly awkward as the night progressed. At one point she had to climb down a staircase in front of the audience while the lights were on. It might have had something to do with the tiny venue — the Hordern Pavilion only has a 6,000 person capacity.

From the moment Nicki returned to the stage in a flowing white dress, the concert veered into Lady Gaga dance/pop territory and never looked back. The only thing missing was a flaming piano and Mother Monster’s powerful pipes. Her Billboard Hot 100 smash “Starships” sounded a little ragged but was winningly presented with a cute dance routine and those aforementioned gold lamé costumes. “Pound The Alarm” and “Whip It”, two of the most traditionally “pop” songs from the Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded‘s tracklist, came next. Though both bangers have been tagged as future singles, Nicki struggles when performing this kind of material live. Vocally  it wasn’t there — she mimed sections of both tracks — and the choreography was slapdash. She barely made it through, while shirtless male dancers vogued on stage.

The David Guetta-assisted dance anthem “Where Dem Girls At” kept the nightclub atmosphere going strong until Onika switched things up by throwing in the briefest of ballad sections. The highlight was the bitter slow jam “Fire Burns”, which the singer said was about someone she really hates. No kidding, we thought, as she hissed lyrics: “I pray you burn in hell and never find the ocean.”

After that moving number, it was time for some audience participation. Nicki called on volunteers to come on stage to sing “Bottoms Up” with her. Unfortunately, the hapless girls she chose didn’t know the words and were soon dispatched. Much to everyone’s embarrassment. A super fan in the front row saved the day by recounting the lyrics line by line and the recent Ellen performer rewarded him with $500. There was one hitch: She only had US dollars.

Pink Friday’s opening night ended with more of a whimper than a bang. Ms. Minaj went through the motions of her Australian Top 5 hit “Turn Me On”, wearing a rainbow tutu, before closing the show with her pop crossover megahit “Super Bass”.

Perhaps it’s time for Nicki to return to that rap-meets-pop blueprint for inspiration. Mixing genres is one thing; turning into a completely different performer is another. The first quarter of the show felt real and authentic. The rest was a lot of fun but divas like Ke$ha and Katy Perry simply do it better.

Are you excited to witness Nicki Minaj’s transformation into pop princess on her Pink Friday tour? Tell us in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Daniel

    I went to this show last night and waited 7 hours in line to get a good spot. The whole show was insane and had everyone going crazy. She did verses from other songs aswell like Y U Mad, and her DJ did songs from her mix tapes when she was gettin changed like itty bitty piggy.

    • Maisie

      Like was it amazing? Cos I am from the UK and I am seeing her and no joke I am sitting her crying my eyes out at how bad this review it! But too just see her would be amazing!

    • AN

      Daniel, if you could remember any other songs/verses she performed that would be much appreciated. Kinda surprised she’s not doing Come on a Cone or I Am Your Leader? And I’m a little disappointed to hear lackluster reviews cuz I saw her at the Femme Fatale tour and felt her set outshined Britney by a ton.

      • shell

        She did do I am your leaderlast night.

  • peter

    it was amazing for fans and stans. Don’t be bothered by this shade.

  • Camila

    Its was an ok concert … Just felt little ripped off for an hour performance from nicki … Left the pavillion feeling like an unfinished show. The crowd behaviour was pathetic , too many people passing out, dehydrated or drugged.

  • Jodz

    I think it was freakin terrible. Worst concert I’ve ever been to. She sang about 1/3 of the lyrics to the songs (rather badly too, autotune clearly works wonders on her published stuff), the backing track was the actual CD… not just the music, but the words etc as well. She basically never sung choruses, just a few lines from each verse. We effectively paid over $80 each to listen to a CD we already own…

  • shell

    I think she could have done better too. She sang to a cd for less than an hour as she had about 4 breaks/costume changes in that hour. The singing she did do to the cd was only minimal too. The croud was ridiculous. I witness a little girl getting trampled on because of stupid people pushing. Inside was no better, people being lifted over front and just general stupid behavoiur. There was no crowd control. Timomatic was good. Nicki was amazing but just feel a little ripped off.

  • Superbad Superbass

    Sorry, but I feel ripped off. It was a woeful show, she virtually mimed the whole thing other than throwing in Yo, Ho, Huh here and there. The production was the worst I have ever seen and a one hour show for a world tour just doesnt cut it – its seriously more like an album promo tour and thats exactly what we got for our money – we got to stand around a hall and listen to the album because she just did not sing anything….
    Add that it took more than 2 hours to even enter the venue, which meant we missed the support act Timomatic – this was a sign that the night was going to be of poor quality. They seriously need to re-think the logistics of getting paying customers into the venue alot quicker…..Superbad Superbass !!

  • Nicki never again

    the whole set up was a shamble, and the performance not worth the money spent on the ticket. My friends in the USA didn’t give her a good review to start with, and were horrified at how much we paid for a ticket ($99.90). But we went anyway to give it a shot, and to give me the right to say the following. Give me GaGa and Kylie any day over this rubbish.

  • Betty

    was timomatic the only opening act?

  • beautifull

    is timomatic her opening act?

  • shell

    yes he was and he was fantastic :)

  • NickiMinajPics

    I heard Nicki’s Concert in Sydney went great…If you guys like Nicki Minaj…check out our fan page at

  • Denise

    Who goes. On tour with her

  • Harry


  • Nicki Minaj is 27, she was born in 1984 not 1982, its a misconception. on her first ellen interveiw they discussed her being 26, i dont know how the world got so confused.