They say all you need is love…and apparently rest as well. I think I’ve been in denial about my stress or I’ve either suppressed it because it surely took final form these last two days. I did have a pretty good weekend, however (per usual). On Thursday, we went on a class trip to Liverpool as an extension of my Interpreting Popular Culture class. I don’t know what I expected Liverpool to look like. For some reason, all I could think was a post-World War II industrial wasteland, but I was embarrassingly wrong. Liverpool is just as modern as you expect, but with a nautical touch. We stayed at a Premier Inn along the docks and I didn’t think I needed that view in my life until it was right there in front of me. It was ridiculously windy and cold so I couldn’t stand outside and look at the sea, but I could from my window.
We were only in Liverpool for a day and a half. When we arrived, we got our rooms and split off for lunch. After that it was a pretty loose schedule of a visit to the Museum of Liverpool and an [optional] view of the top of the Liverpool Cathedral. I did both, of course. I learned that the Liverpool Cathedral is actually the largest cathedral in all of the U.K. It wouldn’t seem that way from first viewing it, probably due to its shape, but it is HUGE. To better understand how large it is, it holds the world’s heaviest church bells which weigh more than 10 tons each with the main bell weighing 14 tons. We went up 10 flights in the elevator and then walked up 100 steps to get to the top and the view wasn’t breathtaking, but still serenely beautiful. When I was in Paris, I was disappointed to see how homogeneous the architecture was, but I was oddly calmed by this in Liverpool. I think it was the combination of brown and red brick that made it feel more “homey” and finally like a lived-in city as opposed to all the metropolitan areas I’ve been exposed to since I’ve been in Europe. It was enjoyable until the wind picked back up and I thought I was going to fly off so we left shortly after. We then had dinner and got ready for a Beatles cover band at The Cavern Club where The Beatles formerly played before they made it out of Liverpool. When we got there, the band already started, but that was fine because I don’t know many Beatles songs. Overall, I did enjoy the show. I think because I didn’t grow up listening to The Beatles, it was more exciting for me to revel in the energy of the crowd who did. Though I still don’t have this overwhelming amount of love for them, I have a new found appreciation and fascination with them thanks to this class. I’ve always been so consumed in the philosophy and psychology of ‘the boy band’ which drew me to their early 60s career and once they transitioned into their LSD phase in the late 60s when they stopped touring, I was really drawn in by the songwriting and the musical compositions. It’s easy to understand why the band was as large as it was, but I think it carries into my generation because it seems almost mythical since we weren’t able to experience it. I don’t know, maybe it’s the historian or the boy-band lover in me, but I couldn’t help, but I found myself standing in an abandoned mall staring at a wall-sized black and white photo of the band and just wondering, “What was it like?”
The next day, we woke up to complimentary breakfast (yay!) and checked out to get started on our Beatles tour. This was a bus tour that allowed us to get on and off the bus at particular stops. We visited the former childhood homes of each member of the Beatles, getting off the bus to see the outside of George Harrison’s home and Paul McCartney’s home. We also visited the church where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met when they were teenagers which was adjacent to the infamous cemetery where Eleanor Rigby lies. We also visited Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields where I was told it wasn’t the actual gates (bummer), but still very cool. The tour was only a couple of hours and then we headed to the train station to head back to good old London. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Liverpool. Though I was fairly exhausted for most of it and other things bothered me, I enjoyed being out of the city and being on a trip that none of us had to organize. I think I would visit again.
Another highlight of the weekend was that I had the opportunity to see Nicki Minaj live in concert at the O2! I’ll give y’all the best condensed review I can. Trey Songz was the opening act and personally, I feel he fell flat…literally. His voice was just not on point, not that it’s really that great in the first place, but it was particularly off. I also found his performance overall very boring. It was just him onstage for about an hour and there were no dancers and hardly any graphics or stage effects. He just went back and forth across the stage and the most crowd-pleasing he did was taking off his shirt. Moving on to Nicki, SHE. WAS. AMAZING. I’ve been wanting to see Nicki in concert for a while, but after The Pinkprint, I knew it was a must. For a while I dabbled between if I should just see her here or wait until I go home, but then I thought, “Why would I NOT see her in London?!” She started off the concert with tracks from her album in chronological order, minus “Get On Ur Knees” (*tear*). After she performed “Feeling Myself,” she transitioned into performing her prominent features and some older hits like “Beez in the Trap,” “Did It On ‘Em,” and “Moment 4 Life.” She went back into tracks from the album, ending with “Anaconda” before she left for a wardrobe change to prepare for the slow section of her concert. She had these pretty black and white video montages that acted as an interlude during her costume changes. When she came back, she brought her background singers to the forefront for “Pills N Potions,” “Grand Piano,” “Marilyn Monroe,” and more. She picked up the pace next by mixing up the setlist with tracks from The Pinkprint and Pink Friday like “Superbass” and “Trini Dem Girls.” It was also during this time she brought a couple of fans onstage which was pretty entertaining. She eventually merged into the full-fledged Pink Friday section with an extended version of “Pound The Alarm” and concluding the show with “Starships.” I honestly didn’t think it was the end and I was confused as to why everyone was leaving. Do I think she should have ended with a track from The Pinkprint? Yes. I think “Anaconda” would have been fitting, or at least an encore (*cough* the “Monster” verse *cough*), but my heart will go on. I genuinely had so much fun and I was entertained throughout the show. Nicki debuted her singing and her dance moves-I seriously had no idea she could dance. Her backup dancers and background singers were EVERYTHING and truly made the show what it was. Nicki also looked absolutely amazing and her costumes were very suited for her. I appreciated the personal touch she had on the show. It really showed not only in how the set list was organized at the beginning in the order of the album, paralleling the listening experience, but she really interacted with the fans and genuinely looked like she was having fun. I had so much fun and I was so glad I went. Thank you, Onika ❤
I apologize for my lack of pictures this week. There wasn’t much to take pictures of in Liverpool (and I didn’t get any dock pictures!!) and I was high up at the concert so I definitely didn’t get any good shots. I hope y’all still enjoy!

Liverpool Cathedral
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The Cavern Club
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Penny Lane
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Strawberry Fields
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Home of Paul McCartney
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Liverpool Lime Street Station
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Trey Songz
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Nicki Minaj
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