I had seen so many videos of Chris Rock on youtube that I knew when he announced his Blackout tour, that I needed to go and see this man and put my hard earned money into his pocket.
It turned out that the title 'Blackout' was a very literal description of the tour because all cameras were banned from the show and before entering the inner part of Manchester Arena, we all had to have our phones sealed in pouches that could only be unlocked with magnets by a member of staff. This may have been a cause for concern after the incredibly sad bombing at the Ariana Grande concert but we were able to leave the show at any point to visit the outer concourse and have our phone pouches unlocked at various zones.
Airport style scanners were positioned in the box office entrance with extra security standing by with handheld body scanners. I will also point out that upon the show finishing it took literally three seconds for staff on the doors to unlock each phone pouch with no queues building up. I never at any point felt unsafe.
It was honestly great to visit a show where you weren't distracted by all the screens flashing up in the dark. People actually sat and talked to each other properly during the interval and when the performers were on stage, they watched, they listened, they laughed and they paid attention.
I wish more shows would do this or at least have sections where people could take photos/videos for maybe one or two songs, but then have the rest of the show gadget free.
Chris was on fire. He is as witty and sharp as ever. The man does not shy away. He goes through various topics that he's known for talking about such as politics, gun crime, police brutality, white-black relations, but then he turned to other subjects as well, such as his divorce. I saw another side to him. Although he attacks the breakdown of his marriage with cutting humour, there's also a very stark honesty alongside.
My favourite part was where he attacks the subject of bullying and how it impacts how we let people treat us later on in life as adults.
Very funny stuff. I would recommend you see this guy if he's ever performing in a city near you.
Check his website for tour information
File under: Chris Rock, comedy, tour, Manchester Arena
Kel McGowan is Kelligrafie