PHARRELL Williams might be music’s man of the moment but his special Future Music Festival sideshow at Challenge Stadium last night was an insult to his Perth fans.
The hip hop star and super producer performed for less than 40 minutes with little evidence of live singing as he churned through two minute bites of the biggest hits he has been involved with.
Wearing “that hat” and flanked by a couple of dancers and back-up on the turntables, Williams mustered little more than a few grunts and groans throughout the first 15 minutes of his set during snippets of Snoop Dogg’s Drop It Like It’s Hot, Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl and Nelly’s Hot In Herre.
Despite that, there was a fun party vibe at the show, which the crowd seemed to be lapping up, particularly when Williams invited a bevy of girls on stage to dance with him as he tore his shirt off, but while this might have cut it as a festival slot, it simply didn’t hold up at a headline gig.
It’s great that promoters put on the show to make up for Williams’ absence at Perth’s Future Music festival so he could make it the Oscars and festival punters were offered a discount on tickets. But if people are paying extra to see what other states had included with their festival experience, they deserve more.
There was a rambling speech by Williams about how much he loves his fans and appreciated their support as he clambered around the stadium getting amongst the crowd singing Happy, which they absolutely loved.
Songs like Blurred Lines, Hunter from Williams’ new album G I R L, and N.E.R.D’s She Wants to Move were definite crowd-pleasers.
There is no suggestion that the man doesn’t have immense talent or that he doesn’t appreciate his position – but this short, disappointing set was a missed opportunity to reward his loyal Australian fans with a powerful, live taste of that talent.
Perhaps my expectations were too high. After all, a good portion of the audience did seem to be having a great time, wearing big, cheesy grins and dancing their hearts out.
But shouldn’t we expect big things from the world’s biggest artists?
A live show shouldn’t resemble a poorly coordinated promo slot, it should leave you with goosebumps and something to rave about for days.
It’s sad that 15-year-old girls were streaming out of the venue buzzing about Williams’ performance. It’s great that they enjoyed the show but not great that they’ve grown up in a time where this kind of appearance is acceptable.
There’s no such thing as a perfect show but it should at least deliver something a fan can’t get from listening to the record at home.
A pair of concertgoers approached me after the show, with no encore but with two renditions of Happy to close, and said they were upset they had paid for the experience and would have rather stayed home and listened to a mix tape.
It took most punters longer to get out of Challenge Stadium’s car park than they spent watching Pharrell Williams on stage and, frankly, that’s not good enough.
Were you at last night’s show? Were you disappointed or do you feel you got your money’s worth? Tell us below.