Review: 50 Cent gallops through dozens of hits at Auckland's Spark Arena on Final Lap Tour

Hip-hop legend 50 Cent took Kiwi fans on a whirlwind tour of his career's hits on Thursday night at a sold-out Spark Arena in Auckland.

He cranked through truncated versions of more than 30 tracks in less than 90 minutes, with barely any talking to the crowd in between.

It's easily one of the most jam-packed live music performances I've ever seen from an artist of this stature, for good and bad - but the crowd appeared to love every minute of it and the vibe was very celebratory.

The stage production and backing musicians were impressive, especially in a long, epic intro to 'In Da Club' which was awesome.

A few tracks had streamers and confetti or flame effects to heighten excitement, while dancers helped in others. That meant plenty of gyrating butts hugged by tight clothing emblazoned with 'G-Unit' on them, of course, but it was far from the most risqué performance we've ever seen at Spark Arena.

50 Cent himself, real name Curtis Jackson, is obviously a hugely experienced performer who cranked through everything with ease like a well-oiled machine - despite the vast number of tracks he got through, his own pace was definitely not breakneck. The most energetic he got was a regular little sway from side to side while bouncing one arm up and down as the other held the mic.

That's his style and that's what the fans want, but as a live performance, it isn't the most exciting thing visually. He did also manage a handful of outfit changes throughout though.

50 Cent performing at Auckland's Spark Arena on December 14, 2023.
Photo credit: Live Nation / Tom Grut Photography

The Final Lap Tour was billed as being in celebration of 50 Cent's first and greatest album, Get Rich or Die Tryin'. While most of that album was covered, diehard fans would've definitely wanted to hear 'Heat', which was omitted.

I also wished he'd done 'High All the Time', another cool track with lyrics that boast about having a fax machine in his car - a line that was already dated when it debuted in 2003, but would've been delightfully hilarious to hear in late 2023.

We got snippets of big hits from other albums like 'Candy Shop', 'Window Shopper', 'Baby by Me', 'I Get Money' and 'Just a Lil Bit', as well as a few covers like the great Game track 'Hate It or Love It' and Chief Keef's 'Hate Bein' Sober'.

'Many Men', for me, was the ultimate highlight. Like 'Heat', it's one of the darker, more violent tracks off Get Rich or Die Tryin' and one I've enjoyed countless times over the past two decades.

Finally hearing it performed live for the first time - having missed 50 Cent's previous four concerts in Aotearoa - was a thrill. But I would have liked to hear more of it.

Like most tracks, it was only partially performed before we were thrown into the next.

But getting through that much material, for many people, will be great value for money and it probably keeps the maximum amount of punters happy. It was nice to be all wrapped up by 10:30pm on a weeknight, too, as extremely un-gangsta as that may be.

Walking out of the venue the communal feeling was ecstatic, with yet more 50 Cent being blasted from cars, mobile phones and even bike taxi speakers playing his music as fans left, stoked with what they'd just experienced.