“They told me I could not bring hotties up here today,” Megan Thee Stallion reveals to the audience during her headline Reading Festival performance. “Not my rules, if I could do it I would” she adds with a mischievous smile. “What we gonna do?”
The answer to that question is, of course, charm the security team into allowing fans onstage to dance with her anyway. A handful of young revellers join the Houston rapper on the festival’s Main Stage West, encouraged to throw it down and “fuck it up”. Their pure joy is evident – a mood that radiates throughout Megan’s set. It’s a slick and masterful performance, deservedly sitting at the top of this evening’s billing.
Hitting the ground running, the rapper blitzes through a career-spanning setlist. Opener ‘NDA’ from new album ‘Traumazine’, with its distinctive eerie piano riff, is a powerhouse example of her lyrical prowess and machine gun delivery. The question of “Where my OG hotties at? The ones who’ve been rocking with me since [2018 EP] ‘Tina Snow’” beckons ‘Freak Nasty’ and a rapturous response.
The whole show feels like a celebration. The crowd who are too far back to be selected for on-stage antics lose their inhibitions, create their own dance circles to cheer each other on. Megan mimics this jubilant atmosphere onstage: “If you a bad bitch let me hear you make some noise? If you know you look good let me hear you make some noise?” she encourages before the super smash hit (and NME‘s Best Song Of 2020) ‘WAP’. The delicious filth of the lyrics rings all the more stunning when being belted back by young punters in their thousands. What a moment.
Before earworm ‘Body’, she asks the crowd: “If you love your motherfucking body let me hear some noise?”. There’s a deafening uproar. “That’s real hot girl shit, loving yourself is real hot girl shit”. Houston’s hot girl coach acts as part musical superstar and part motivational speaker for Gen Z. Her positive affirmations resonate, proving her an artist on top of her game at exactly the right time.
Joined by four dancers, her choreography is executed so naturally and effortlessly while never missing a bar, that Reading feels like a sweaty nightclub where everyone’s in. Rounding off the set by inviting fans onstage again – this time acquiescing to request to sign someone’s chest, and supporting a fan who told her she’d just been dumped (“Why would someone break up with her?” she asks, later dedicating ‘Plan B’ to the girl) – she concludes with a fearless rendition of house belter ‘Her’. From start to finish, it’s sleek and joyful.
Megan Thee Stallion is the embodiment of the headliner of the future, and the festival is all the better for it.
Megan Thee Stallion played:
‘Big Ole Freak’
‘Girls in the Hood’
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