GIG REVIEW | STORMZY OVO HYDRO

A night to remember in Glasgow as Stormzy concludes his world tour.

Last Monday Stormzy finished up his H.I.T.H world tour in Glasgow at the OVO Hydro. After 2 years of rescheduling, fans new and old were delighted to see the king of grime return to Scotland’s capital for the first time since TRNSMT in 2019. 

Arriving at the packed-out venue we were greeted by a giant queue at the box office; apparently, they had run out of wristbands resulting in a lot of outraged fans being turned away at the door despite having valid tickets.

We made our way into the crowd packed with hordes of young fans, and apparently also Louis Theroux, just in time for the familiar opening notes of ‘Big Michael’. With the place lit up and the smoke machines pouring, the huge kinetic screen on stage split in two to reveal Stormzy standing on top of a giant platform. It was obvious this was going to be a big show. The platform gradually descended and he swaggered onto the stage with relentless energy, high kicking his way forward to an ecstatic audience and delivering an effortlessly charismatic performance, the crowd shouting back every single word.

He commenced the set with an unbelievable amount of energy as he performed two of his most recognisable hits in succession; ‘Audacity’ and 2015 oldie ‘Know Me From’. At frequent intervals between tracks Stormzy pauses to express his gratitude to his fans for holding onto their tickets for 2 years. Despite his success he remains humble, and you can tell he means it.

As the opening bars of ‘Crown’ ring out a circle of light surrounds Stormzy from above, descending until it stops just above his head. It was a special moment; the tone was serious and subdued, and he was accompanied by a 6-piece gospel choir who provided beautiful vocal harmonies that elevated the mood. Next ‘Superheroes’ was similarly touching.

Another high point was ‘Own It’, a collaboration with Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy, which carries an irresistible beat. Similarly euphoric was ‘Cigarettes & Cush’, which features Lily Alen, and it didn’t take any more than 30 seconds of the opening vocals before a white fog hovered over the crowd as half standing seemed to spark up a zoot.

Taking a more serious tone was ‘Rachael’s Little Brother’, as the title suggests dedicated to Stormzy’s older sister Rachael Anston. Rachael is a well-known DJ who was the opening act for the evening; she got the crowd going with a brilliant mash-up set of songs. ‘Lessons’, written about the rapper’s ex Maya Jama, took had similar feeling; pouring with emotion amplified by the colossal gospel backing.

Diss track ‘Wiley Flow’ remains one of his strongest moments, the track is a brutal evisceration which sees Stormzy floating above the stage in a giant cage. The crowd’s reaction to ‘Clash’ featuring Dave was astonishing, I can’t even imagine the response when he joined Stormzy on stage at the o2 London show.

Another high point was ‘Big for Your Boots’, the lead single from his 2017 album which is basically just four minutes of him threatening to batter you, but remained one of his most tightly coiled flows. Equally raw was ‘Shut Up’, which proved impossible not to sing along to, truly one of his best.

The whole evening felt very religious, particularly ‘Blinded by Your Grace, Pt. 2’ which featured a giant crucifix behind Stormzy as he performed. The visuals were some of the most impressive I have ever witnessed; on par with the likes of Glastonbury or Kanye’s floating stage. I later read that the stage design was done by the same team responsible for Beyonce’s Coachella performance.

Stormzy thanked everyone and went off stage. Fans were treated to some promo for album three, which has a release date reveal of 2022, and we were invited to pre-order it at the merch desk.

After a few minutes of the audience demanding an encore he bounced back on stage, shirtless (except the Scotland flag draped over him, gifted by a fan which he caught effortlessly without missing a beat) and wearing heart shaped sunglasses, and delivered an energetic performance of his biggest single ‘Vossi Bop’. Strobes were flashing, pyrotechnics blazing and then the night ended with a bang as the confetti cannon rained down over the venue.

It was an evening of impressive visuals and a charismatic performance from an artist who is equally powerful and humble, attributing his success to God. Simultaneously tender and exhilarating, it is evident that this king is as passionate about his art as ever.

About Emma Edwards 75 Articles
22 year old journalism student