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Black Eyed Peas, O2 Academy, Birmingham - review and pictures

By Dayna Farrington | Music | Published:

It has been eight years since the Black Eyed Peas toured - and it doesn't feel like ten minutes since they went away.

The three original members Will.i.am, Apl.de.ap and Taboo returned to the stage at the O2 Academy in Birmingham on Monday night like no time had passed by.

It is hard to believe it has been eight years, as frontman Will.i.am has still been at the forefront of everyone's minds with his stint on talent show The Voice.

Their new tour is hot on the heels of the release of their seventh studio album, Masters of the Sun Vol. 1, which came out earlier this month and is their first recording without Fergie, who recently departed the band.

The gig was full of new songs from their latest album - with the band now returning to their hip-hop roots - and also the old fan favourites including Shut Up, Pump It and The Time (Dirty Bit).

Going into the gig I wasn't sure what to expect, having not heard any of the Black Eyed Peas' latest music, but was drawn in with new songs Big Love and Ring The Alarm.

To fill the Fergie-shaped hole in the band, the Black Eyed Peas have recruited singer Jessica Reynoso, whi was discovered by Apl while he coached the Filipino version of The Voice.

She has a great voice - which was shown off further in a solo section - but Fergie's shoes are big to fill.

During Will.i.am's solo section he took to the O2 Academy's balcony meeting fans, taking selfies, messing with the lights and also getting ready to crowd surf while performing some of his solo hits, including Scream and Shout (minus Britney Spears).

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The set was simple and not too distracting - with eager fans able to download an interactive tour app which makes special effects appear on your phone during certain songs.

The band even got a eight-year-old girl on stage to help them sing the chorus of The Time (Dirty Bit).

But it was the party classics that got the crowd singing and dancing with Shut Up, Boom Boom Pow and I Gotta Feeling delighting all the long-time fans in the audience.

My personal favourite moment of the show was their performance of what is arguably their biggest hit, Where Is The Love? It is hard to believe the song is now 15 years old.

The smash-hit, which became Britain's biggest selling single of 2003, had the whole crowd singing along and waving their lit-up phones in the air, with the meaning behind the lyrics still as powerful now as it was back then.

Overall, it was great to see the Black Eyed Peas back on stage doing what they do best.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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