Wireless Festival, Finsbury Park, London ★★★★✩
AFTER a string of cancelled shows, rumours were flying right up to the wire that Cardi B would pull out of her headline set at Wireless. She had cancelled her appearance at the festival last year, and the anticipation of not knowing whether she’d make it to the stage for her only UK date of 2019 meant the atmosphere was feverish.
But amid a flash of fireworks, she strode out — on time! — in neon orange to cause a seismic ripple through Finsbury Park. The relatively low key opening of Get Up 10 ratcheted up to 11 when she launched into Press — Cardi don’t need more press, but hey, here we are anyway.
There wasn’t much space for chit-chat as she fired through tracks mostly from Invasion Of Privacy, the twerking as wild and rampant in the crowd as on stage. At times, there was a sense of pressure-letting — that finally fans were hearing these songs, big and loud, and it was almost incidental Cardi B was there.
But these were outmatched by the times when it was unquestionably Cardi’s party — at one point she snatched her wig off and threw it into the audience, later taking to Instagram to request its safe return.
Halfway through her relatively brief set, she invited man-of-the-moment Lil Nas X to the stage. Fresh from panini-making lessons with Gordon Ramsay, he received a rapturous reception for Old Town Road before segueing into Rodeo, his Cardi B collab — to which all the words were howled back in perfect time, despite it being released for just two weeks.
But the most excitable reaction was saved for Cardi’s breakout hit, Bodak Yellow. She made her way round the edge of the audience to stick her tongue out in selfies with fans as the final notes died away — as reluctant to leave the stage as we were to let her go.