Stormzy at All Points East: Setlist and review of ‘triumphant hometown show’

Stormzy headlined and curated This Is What We Mean Day at Victoria Park on Friday August 18, opening All Points East 2023.
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It’s a low-key start before the fireworks (literally) for Stormzy - and an ending of torrential rain. But it’s a victorious homecoming nonetheless.

The show is in two acts, with the first half drawing on last year’s touching and nuanced This Is What I Mean album (I mean, this is This What We Mean Day) in Victoria Park, after all.

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Fire + Water is a beautiful song, as is Firebabe, featuring Debbie, who also performed earlier in a day curated by Stormzy himself.

This Is What I Mean is a banger, but of a different kind to what was to follow in the second act.

“This album reflects a very specific time in my life. The word that comes to mind is ‘stillness’.”

It is reflective and also a chance for a singalong. Stormzy himself seems shocked that everyone knows the words to almost all the songs - he’s genuinely touched.

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“London, how we feeling tonight? I can’t believe there’s this much people…London I love you from the bottom of my heart. I know every artist says that but this is my hometown...I will love you till the day I die and I’ll never stop saying ‘thank you’.”

“Heavy is the head that wears the crown.” But Stormzy wears it lightly, and with grace - and he can’t stop grinning at his new 50,000-strong choir.

There’s a protracted search for a ‘Marcus’, whose birthday it is, apparently, which turns into some Spartacus situation with lots of Marcuses putting themselves forward. Undeterred, an incongruous snippet of Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday To Ya! follows.

Stormzy at All Points East in Victoria Park. (Photo by Khali Ackford)Stormzy at All Points East in Victoria Park. (Photo by Khali Ackford)
Stormzy at All Points East in Victoria Park. (Photo by Khali Ackford)

Sampha takes centre stage for Sampha’s Plea and then Stormzy’s pricey-looking trainers are off and into the crowd - and things get heavy.

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Big For Your Boots, Know Me From and Toxic Trait are among the bass heavy tracks that have tens of thousands of fans bouncing for 30 minutes of a field going off.

Things soften with a gospel flavour and more This Is What I Mean tracks towards the end, and then there’s a fireworks finale, tonnes of rain and lots of happy people, not least Stormzy himself.

Stormzy setlist at All Points East, Victoria Park

  • Intro
  • Fire + Water
  • This Is What I Mean
  • Firebabe
  • Hide and Seek
  • Need You
  • Crown
  • Cigarettes & Cush
  • Own It
  • The Weekend
  • Rainfall
  • Give It To The Water
  • Please
  • Sampha’s Plea
  • Big For Your Boots
  • Know Me From
  • Cold
  • Handsome
  • Toxic Trait
  • Wiley Flow
  • Clash
  • Shut Up
  • Vossi Bop
  • Holy Spirit
  • Bad Blood
  • I Got My Smile Back
  • Blinded By Your Grace Pt2
  • My Presidents are Black Outro
Stormzy on stage at All Points East in Victoria Park. (Photo by Khali Ackford)Stormzy on stage at All Points East in Victoria Park. (Photo by Khali Ackford)
Stormzy on stage at All Points East in Victoria Park. (Photo by Khali Ackford)

Khelani

On the West Stage, Khelani has charisma to spare fronting an old-school RnB, live soul band pop.

Sampha

Early in the evening Sampha showed what a class act he is, backed by a snare-driven band. It’s an organic, exciting show with hits such as the touching (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano, along with new tracks with a touch of 70s/80s synth running through. Excellent.