Reviews: The Rolling Stones, Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Paul Simon

The Rolling Stones
Ian West/PA via AP)
– The Rolling Stones
London Stadium, London, England.

Big names doing big shows are what we’ve collected in our grab bag of critiques, including The Rolling Stones in London, Kendrick Lamar in West Palm Beach, Taylor Swift in Pasadena, Ed Sheeran in Manchester and Paul Simon in Los Angeles.

The Rolling Stones @ London Stadium in London, England, May 22 – “Mick Jagger is omnipresent, bursting onto the enormous stage in a silver, black and red jacket to the rumbling strains of ‘Street Fighting Man’, moving directly into ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll’ then soothing us with ‘Tumbling Dice’, prompting roars with those opening notes of ‘Paint it Black’.” –  C JaneHall Wallace / Independent

Kendrick Lamar @ Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Fla., May 23 – Kendrick Lamar’s set featured a small industrial town aesthetic with red flares flashing across that big screen. Pictures of the all-too-common tossed shoes dangled on power lines, an image associated with decaying neighborhoods. Lamar, the top billed act, regaled the Amphitheatre with a montage of hits from his breakthrough album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City to DAMN. and popular songs that feature his guest appearances, including a quick cameo by Zacari.” – Wilkine Brutus / Palm BeachPost

Taylor Swift @ The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., May 19 – “Swift also added a dimension of intimacy to her performance with intermittent monologues, which she recounted with both ecclesiastical charisma and the self-affirming tone of slam poetry. They served both as transition devices – she ended her first by saying the audience looked ‘a level above beautiful’ to smoothly flow into her song ‘Gorgeous’ – as well as self-reflections that held her concert together with a recurring theme of overcoming fear of vulnerability.” – Emily McCormick / DailyBruin

Ed Sheeran @ Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, May 24 – “’Always be a singer-songwriter,’ he raps on ‘You Need Me More Than I Need You,’ ‘Keep the genre pretty basic.’ Despite the dishevelled exterior, he knows exactly what he’s doing, and if you ask his fans they’’ll tell you he’s doing it exactly right.” – Tristan FaneSaunders / Telegraph

Paul Simon @ The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Calif., May 22 – “By the time he closed with the solemn ‘The Sound of Silence,’ standing alone in a single spotlight, finger-picking his way through one of his most insightful ballads, every ounce of emotion, passion, and power had come into focus.” – Maureen Lee Lenker / Entertainment Weekly