While scores of desperate fans jockeyed for a place at UBC’s comparatively small Thunderbird Arena for a chance to see teen sensation Olivia Rodrigo on her first ever tour, the cool kids were halfway across the city at the Pacific Coliseum for Tyler, the Creator. Bringing an impressive roster of famous friends along for the ride in support of his celebrated 2021 album, CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST, the music lasted for nearly five hours and never let up in terms of energy.
While a lack of organization with the outside lineups led to Teezo Touchdown performing to a mostly-empty arena, the crowd was ready when Vince Staples took the stage with an impressive light show that made it look like he was performing his social commentary-heavy raps on top of a cop car. After Latin R&B singer Kali Uchis donned a huge, regal coat, knocked a couple backup dancers out with her hips, and ran through a string of tracks from her latest album, Tyler wasted no time firing the building up with some pyrotechnic blasts that lasted throughout the night.
Tyler’s staging has been consistently impressive in its attention to detail, and this tour proves no exception – rising up to the stage in a vintage blue Rolls-Royce while wearing the same fur trapper hat that’s been glued to his head throughout the album cycle, Tyler’s latest project has a theme of globetrotting to lavish vacation spots and he performed most of the set in front of a mansion complete with a suited butler and stairs he could walk up and down. After performing a couple frenetic rap bangers like “CORSO” and “LUMBERJACK” from the balcony, Tyler proved that he could easily double as a stand-up comedian. Peppering in a couple tight fives in between songs, Tyler cracked a couple jokes at the expense of Vancouver’s downtown eastside, local interview legend Nardwuar, and some crowd members he addressed repeatedly as “the three shirtless frat bros.”
Rolling his eyes into the back of his head and performing in a stance so wide it often looked like he was in danger of dropping into an accidental splits, Tyler’s raw hip-hop abilities certainly haven’t diminished since stepping away from the genre on the Grammy-winning IGOR. It was truly awe-inspiring to see about 90 per cent of the building jumping and returning Tyler’s energy in kind – even if it made for a sweaty affair. “It’s hot in this bitch, man,” Tyler yelled from the stage at one point. After riding a boat over to the B-stage, running through a medley of his older hits and even showing off his beatboxing skills, Tyler returned to the main stage for a final hit parade.
“I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE” ended in an emotional sing-along, while “Who Dat Boy” drew an extended applause as Tyler took it all in. “Everyone here is a psychopath,” he remarked at the grinding mosh pit that formed before the pyro display on “EARFQUAKE” had embers bouncing off the stage and he named “NEW MAGIC WAND” his all-time favourite creation. Throwing his hat into the crowd and exiting through the mansion’s front door, Tyler’s show served to cement his place as one of hip-hop’s most impressive live acts.
By Glenn Alderson
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