Tyler, the Creator and Vince Staples trekked out on their joint 2018 tour with high expectations. Both artists recently released critically-acclaimed albums and fans have been pumped to see the new material live.
In Philly, the tour stopped at the Liacouras Center, a moderately sized basketball arena for Temple University.
I arrived at the show at around 7 p.m. and made my way to the floor, which was about half-filled.
Taco, the longtime Odd Future member, was up first on the bill with a DJ set. Throughout the set he blasted hits from the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, A$AP Ferg and Kendrick Lamar. The songs were synced to eclectic visuals ranging from live action to iconic anime, such as “Ghost in the Shell” and “Cowboy Bebop.” Taco tried to inject hs personality as much as possible cracking jokes and telling stories to make the audience laugh. Taco played about 20 minutes, ending his set with XXXTentaction’s “F**k Love.”
After Taco left, crew members began to change the stage to reveal a wall of lights at the back of the stage. After about twenty minutes, suddenly the lights projected a timer and began a countdown for Vince Staples.
The arena went dark with a minute to go promoting cheers from the crowd. As the timer expired the lights flipped revealing smalls screens that combined to project a short faux newscast starring Kilo Kish, which would provide interstitials throughout the show. After its conclusion Vince, wearing all-black and a bulletproof vest, took center stage for “Bagbak.”
On stage Vince was focused and determined. He did not heavily interact with the crowd, but rather let the music speak for him while he jumped around performing.
The crowd interest wavered throughout the set. Unfortunately for Vince, the crowd, which mostly consisted of Temple students and Odd Future fans, was not there for him. Vince still gave it all however over a 50-minute set performing hits such as “Senorita,” “Smile” and “Blue Suede.”
The highlight was “Lift Me Up” which has an intro that is captivating live. The powerful orchestration, along with the accompanying lights, produced a haunting feeling that made the crowd anticipate the drop.
His set came to a close with “Yeah Right.” The crowd chanted the chorus with Vince before he took off for the night. After the lights came up I heard multiple people say, “Who was that?”
After Vince’s performance there was a long wait for Tyler, the Creator. Most people on the floor at this point went up to the concourse to get something to eat, or pick up some merchandise. Multiple people were also sitting on the floor relaxing.
It wasn’t until about an hour later that the overture for Tyler started and the lights went down. A giant red curtain on the stage was pulled up and Tyler was standing on the right on a tree log.
The unique stage felt like it was built for a fifth-grade play, but in a good way. The landscape was littered with trees and backed up by a gorgeous set of nighttime stars.
The crowd gave their most booming cheers of the night to greet Tyler, who was donning leopard print hair and a neon green crossing guard jacket with a doodle of an angel on the back.
Tyler began with the splendid “Where the Flower Blooms,” which features Frank Ocean. It was a perfect opener as it set the tone well and had the crowd singing along to Tyler’s rhythmic chorus from the jump.
It was immediately apparent how clean all of Tyler’s music sounded. It is very clear that Tyler is an artist who thinks about his live show when making his music. It was mixed brilliantly so that it filled the room properly, Tyler could be heard over the track clearly and songs sounded just like they did on the album.
Tyler’s setlist mostly included tracks from his critically-acclaimed album “Flower Boy,” which was released last year. The album was something different for Tyler, but despite the contrast with his prior music it melded great in the setlist.
The next huge hit from Tyler was “Boredom,” which was followed by the funky “911” and somber “Mr. Lonely.”
He had a good stage presence, and knows how to work a crowd. He would take breaks after songs to tell a joke to make the audience laugh, but he knew when to move on to not lose momentum. The best of these moments was when he talked about the Eagles winning a Super Bowl and the crowd teaching him a few not safe for work Eagles chants.
After “Mr. Lonely” Tyler performed a throwback section which included some of his biggest songs over the years such as “IFHY,” “SMUCKERS” and “She.” However, the biggest of these songs was his first big hit, “Yonkers.”
For the rest of the show Tyler performed only “Flower Boy” tracks. “Who Dat Boy” was another banger the crowd went crazy for, along with slower tracks such as “Glitter” and “Garden Shed.”
However, the hit of the night was “I Ain’t Got Time!” Starting off with an interlude that transferred in the twangy sample Tyler asked the crowd to give everything they had. It was easily the most lively time of the night for the crowd, where people were jumping on each level of the arena.
Tyler ended his set at 11:20 p.m. with “See You Again,” which was a fine closer. It is a nice track that left the crowd with a warm, fuzzy feeling. I would have preferred if he closed with a track like “Glitter,” but I can’t complain that much.
In the end, Vince and Tyler put on a great show — despite the long waiting time and a partially weak crowd, they put on great performances to make the night special.