Review: Nicki Minaj at 3Arena


On her return to Dublin’s recently rebranded 3Arena, Nicki Minaj’s exuberant personality was rarely seen in the rather modest live show for ‘The Pinkprint Tour’.


For her A-list status, often put on the same par with Katy Perry, Rihanna and Beyoncé, you’d expect Minaj’s stage show to be just as OTT as her contemporaries, however this wasn’t the case.

The hip-hop queen abandoned the ostentatious props and an army of dancers in favour of a simple light show and a few big screens – a stripped back approach reflected in her latest album The Pinkprint – her most personal album to date. Unfortunately, her chilled out sombre ballads occasionally broken up by the obligatory club super hits meant a disjointed setlist of which slowed down the momentum of the show.

Minaj kicked off with All Things Go, the first track off The Pinkprint, followed by two more slow hip-hop ballads, which lacked the muster to gear up 7,000 tipsy revelers – thanks to the 3Arena’s new Neon and Kaleidoscope Bars. The former, a metropolitan bar, exclusive to 3 customers and the latter a top floor VIP bar with an ecclectic menu – perfect for a bite to eat and a drink before a show. Thankfully, pace picked up by song four, Feelin’ Myself, one of Minaj’s collaborations with Beyoncé.

Minaj’s talent is undeniable, however. She jumped from sombre R’n’B vocals to spitting out her trademark rhymes with ease – proving that she’s not just a major label pop puppet, but one of the best rappers in the game. Evidently, a setlist perhaps better suited to smaller venue. Disappointing ticket sales meant she failed to fill the 3Arena 23,000 capacity by even half.

While the show was a slow burner, by half way through the set momentum picked up and Minaj finally began to let loose and interact with the audience on a less superficial level, perhaps borrowing energy from the increasingly rowdy superfans who were loving crowd favourite’s Anaconda, a remix of Beyoncé’s ***FLAWLESS, Super Bass and Pound The Alarm. By the final half hour, Minaj had won over the crowd and vice versa. After inviting two audience members on-stage, Nicki told the crowd with an Irish tricolour in hand (and reiterated on Instagram a few hours later), “You guys make me feel more inspired than you’ll ever know. You guys were one of my favorite crowds of all time”. A line uttered by many a musician in 3Arena, but actually seemed to be genuine.

The evening drew near a close with a taste of Bang Bang, last year’s Jessie J collaboration followed by the closing banger Starships which queued the glitter cannons.

Unfortunately for Nicki, sometime’s less is … well, less. To say her set wasn’t fun would be a lie. Considering her large repertoire of chart anthems, I’d have been remiss not to dance. However, her considerably minimalistic approach to The Pinkprint Tour did the larger than life superstar no favours, despite her best intentions.


For more information on 3Music and Neon & Kaleidoscope Bars and to get access, visit


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