“It has been 365 days, times two, since I’ve seen you,” said Kendrick Lamar, as he began an emotionally charged 90-minute set Friday night to close out day one of Goldenvoice’s hip-hop-centric Day N Vegas Festival.
In fact, 741 pages have turned on the calendar since Lamar last took the main stage of Day N Vegas Festival ’19, his last US concert on record.
The performer who emerged amid the skyline of the Strip came with a vibe—explosive, poetic, passionate, true—that reverberated deep into the souls of the 50,000+ festival goers who turned up to see him.
With endless chatter about a new album, departure from label Top Dawg Entertainment and new management, it was anyone’s guess what the enigmatic rapper would deliver to an all-ages audience reeling from one of the most difficult week’s in hip-hop history post-Astroworld.
In 2019, Lamar was so off the cuff at Day N Vegas, day-after buzz had some accusing him of sending in a stunt double in a cowboy hat when they didn’t believe it was really “Cowboy Kenny.”
This year, he was crochet clad in angelical white—an almost Biblical figure.
A riveting tour through Lamar’s catalog, the Day N Vegas ’21 set featured 16 synchronized performers in red suits, ballerinas in tulle, a rush of exuberant children, and protege Baby Keem.
Lamar executed two dozen songs, divided into five acts—one for each of his ground-breaking albums Section.80, good kid, m.A.A.d city, To Pimp a Butterfly, and DAMN. and a finale that featured Keem and an encore appearance by those performers with who he shared the stage throughout the journey.