After an eleven-year break, N-Dubz came back with a bang. They released their new single, “Charmer”, and their UK Back to the Future arena tour.
Many people loved them in the 2000s, with their top hits ‘I Need You‘ and ‘Number 1’ with rapper Tinchy Stryder.
Let us discuss who N-Dubz are, more about their tour and why it was so good – touching on things like the thought and effort they put into the set, setlist, lighting and most notably, the story-telling of their journey as N-Dubz.
How N-Dubz Began
N-Dubz members Tulisa, Dappy and Fazer are from Camden Town, London. They came together to make music back in 2000, when they were only young teenagers.
However, their debut single ‘You Better Not Waste My Time‘ was not released until 2006.
They then received the MOBO award for best UK newcomer in 2007, which resulted in them breaking into the mainstream music scene.
After which, their debut album Uncle B – released in 2008, went double platinum and had four UK top-40 singles.
Following that, their second album Against All Odds in 2009 went platinum and featured the top hit ‘I Need You’.
In 2009 they also received another MOBO award for Best UK Act.
Finally, their last album Love Live Life was released in 2010 and was their third consecutive platinum release.
After all this, the trio decided to indefinitely break from N-Dubz. Individually they had their own fame as solo artists, and Tulisa featured on X Factor as a judge.
Since their fame to their break in August 2011, they have faced many controversies and hardships within and outwith the band. It was essential for them to have a break. Not only to work on individual projects but to try and spend time without fame and scandals.
When questioned individually, Dappy, Tulisa and Fazer all stated that a reunion may happen and that they were just waiting for the right time.
The time is here! After eleven years, N-Dubz is back.
Where & When
N-Dubz released that they were doing a UK tour in November with seventeen dates – all of which had sold out very quickly. With the phenomenal demand for tickets for the gig, N-Dubz released another six dates in December.
The arena tour went to many places within the UK, such as:
Most of these places had more than one date each, which shows the high demand for seeing N-Dubz’ return.
Lights, Set & Performance
The gig was such an amazing experience – you can tell a lot of effort and thought was put into the set’s presentation and performance.
The lights and set with used strategically to complement the performance and storytelling. For many songs, the set was put differently to enhance the performance.
For example, during ‘So Alive’, they each had a massive podium they stood on while flames were shown in the background and outfits were all red, further emphasising their intention of keeping themes.
Between songs, Dappy, Tulisa and Fazer spoke to the crowd and involved them in the journey we all were experiencing with the gig.
Additionally, they chose two people from the crowd to join them on stage for the song ‘I Swear’, where they were given a seat and Dappy, Tulisa and Fazer sang to them. During this, the people in the seat danced, and the crowd went wild.
Also, it is important to note that the trio appreciated and acknowledged people at the back of the crowd and those in the seats.
During the song ‘Number 1’ Dappy and Fazer ran up to the seating area isles to give the people in the seats appreciation.
The gig was split into performance chunks – with each chunk having its own theme, with the trio would changing outfits that fit the theme. While they were off-stage getting changed, the large screens showed story-telling slideshows.
This gig essentially was a reflective piece – with all the songs being played having been from eleven years ago. The tour being called Back to the Future also hints at reflection, and some looking forward.
Throughout the concert, they told their story using spoken narrative, songs, slide shows and more unconscious techniques such as lights, stage set-up and choreography.
The gig started with an unexpected announcement on the big screens, telling people to get ready and signing off saying “Nanani, haha, may N-Dubz forever be with you.”
They then presented a slideshow on the big screens of them as young teen musicians having fun. This began the show with the beginning of their fame.
They then came on and sang a handful of their classics, and the crowd went wild.
After they had sung many songs – they popped off-stage for a quick outfit change, and while away, another slideshow was presented with videos and pictures of N-Dubz during their peak fame.
More songs were sung and when they popped off again for another outfit change, another slide show was shown with the breakdown of N-Dubz, showing the controversies and hardships which ultimately led to their breakup.
After each presentation, the trio spoke about how they got their fame against all odds and how grateful they are to have experienced it and to be back.
They also spoke about different things they have experienced, and while talking, they were very interactive with the crowd, which kept everyone involved with this journey presentation.
For each gig, the setlist may differ, but the general setlist is as follows:
First, the announcement and slideshow of their early years of making music and then this chunk of the setlist.
- I Need You
- N-Dubz vs Naa
- Defeat you
The slideshow was on the peak of N-Dubz, then this chunk of the setlist was performed.
- Better Not Waste My Time
- Strong Again
- I Swear
- Say It’s Over
- Morning Star
- Papa Can You Hear Me?
- Best Behaviour
Then, the downfall of N-Dubz in the media was shown, and these songs were performed.
- So Alive
- Na Na
- Wouldn’t You
- No Regrets
- Number 1
- Playing With Fire
There was so much to discuss on why this gig was amazing; the nostalgia of the songs, the crowd’s atmosphere or the gig in itself.
There was so much to mention within the gig – the story-telling, the production and the setlist.
Moreover, the interactivity of the gig and the way every method of story-telling and emotion-evoking techniques were used.
The ‘Back to the Future’ Reunion tour was a rollercoaster – and it was one I would love to go on again. It is possibly the best gig I have ever been to – I have never been taken for such a ride as I did during that gig.
N-Dubz wasn’t just a band playing their songs, it was three people who had differing experiences during their times in the public eye.
It was three 13-17-year-olds navigating their musical talents and passion while having fun, meeting new people, and finding their place in the music scene.
Then, it was three young adults experiencing fame and having millions of fans for the first time, enjoying their life, partying, and having fun.
In the end, it was three human-beings dealing with negative backlash and paparazzi deciding the narrative. This causing tremendous turmoil among them as individuals and within the band.
The gig was incredible, and I can’t wait to see what N-Dubz do next.
Featured Image Credit: Samantha McBride
Final year Biology & Psychology student with a keen interest in music, food and lifestyle pieces.
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