It’s remarkably likely that everyone that attended the Nelly gig at the 02 Academy Leeds had a better night than certainly I was expecting.
Devoid of his trademark facial plaster, Nelly was more post-rap musclebound film star than headband-wearing American gangsta and boy, his female following here loved him. Such were the screams and wails of ‘Nelly’ that I thought my hearing was going to be permanently damaged.
It’s been a fair old time since his last tour within our shores but Leeds was never going to let him in down and the O2 Academy was packed to the rafters.
Fortunately for Nelly he need not have actually sung a tune or rapped a word to have enthralled the audience, who were baying for a little more than just a tune. Not since his last album, M.O. in 2013 have we heard anything of real substance from Nelly – well, not aspiring to the dizzy heights of his first two albums, Country Grammar and Nellyville, anyway.
Reacquainting his fans with tracks such as ‘Hot in Herre’, ‘Batter Up’, ‘Air Force Ones’ and the formidable ‘Gone’, Nelly and his relatively small stage entourage brought about a set that reinstalled his by gone era as a bona fide rap legend and all-round superstar.