Concert Review: Tyler, The Creator & Vince Staples
On Friday night, January 26, 2018, Tyler, The Creator and Vince Staples began their North American tour in Vancouver at the Pacific Coliseum. The floor and some of the stands were packed full of a young crowd ready to watch and listen to the Odd Future general and one of LA’s hardest modern rappers. Tyler’s friend and Odd Future cohort Taco had a DJ set to open the night. Regretfully, I missed Taco’s set, as I was outside the venue, with most of the crowd, getting a couple cheap drinks in so I could be loose during the show.
Vince Staples took to the stage first. Wearing a bullet-proof vest, Vince was war ready for the tour-opening show. His set had a media theme, with reoccurring clips from some obscure or fictionalized newscast that was as surreal as it was strange. Vince hardly missed a beat as he rapped nearly every word to even his most lyrically-dense songs. His set was long, but not too long. It was just enough for him to play his most essential tracks plus a few unique ones for the die-hard fans. For example, I love “Rain Come Down”, the closing track to his album The Big Fish Theory. It got played along with the albums standout hit “Big Fish”. “745” also went over very well at the concert; the beat dropped into what was perhaps the most hypnotic part of his set. Vince also played songs from his past albums like Hell Can Wait and Summertime ’06. “Norf Norf” was an expected banger and crowd pleaser. As well as “Blue Suede”, which had screeching synths that echoed through the Coliseum’s chambers. Vince’s sound was great, his song choices were correct, and he seemed genuinely excited to be kicking off the tour. For only being 24, Vince is a very talented showman and perhaps one of the most impressive rappers to see live today. He had no hype-man, he had no backup. What we got Friday was Vince doing Vince and killing every minute of it.
The wait for Tyler, the Creator was short, which was a nice change of pace for a genre known for its IDGAF attitude towards set times and curfews. The lights dimmed and the crowd rushed towards the stage to get as close as they could to one of hip-hops most eclectic, controversial, and talented artists. On top of a knocked over tree, Tyler began his set with “Where This Flower Blooms”, a standout track from his critically-acclaimed album Flower Boy. In accordance with the themes of the album, Tyler’s set was nature based. It was like he was performing from within a forest, trees surrounding him, with the lights behind him coloured as the different times of the day. At one time it had the deep orange of a sunset, at others it was a clear starry night. It was an innovative stage design.
After “Flower Blooms”, Tyler performed “Ziploc”, a YouTube released verse he rapped over Jay-Z’s “Family Feud” beat. After that, and a few introductions with the crowd, Tyler broke into a great set of some of his most memorable tracks, while also skipping a few fan favourites. “Who Dat Boy” was the most energetic track of the night, with mosh pits and general chaos breaking out in the stadium. It was extremely fun and it’s what I believe many fans came for. “I Ain’t Got Time” was also energetic, but it didn’t match the peak of “Who Dat Boy”. “Glitter” was my favourite song of the evening. The beat sounded beautiful in the stadium, and Tyler rapping both verses in normal pitch was refreshing and awesome. “Smuckers” from 2015’s Cherry Bomb was great, but I believe it was the only song he did off that album. This was a shame for me as it is my favourite Tyler album (I know I’m in the minority on that one). He also did a few old songs like “Tamale”, “48”, as well as a couple Bastard tracks for the day-one Tyler fans. One missed opportunity was that he did not perform his breakthrough song “Yonkers”. It’s a violent song, and maybe Tyler is trying to estrange himself from that part of his past. However, it is one of his most famous songs and an instantly recognizable classic for any Tyler fan. It was, to me, a missed opportunity not performing it.
The show ended with no encore. I believe this was due to the fans and not Tyler. Had the fans continued to cheer I believe he would have come out for a couple more tracks. But when he said his goodbyes so did the fans, as nearly all the teens and twenty-somethings headed for the doors the second Tyler left the stage.
In the end it was a great concert. If Tyler and Vince are coming to your town soon I would highly recommend going to the show if you like either of their music. The Pacific Coliseum showed itself to still be a desirable venue in Vancouver, with great sound, plenty of space, and easily accessible parking. Tyler grooved his was through the set and showed why he’s one of the best in the business today. Vince showed his aggression and performed as if he was sending a warning to today’s top-tier rap artists, a warning that said Vince Staples is here and he’s coming for you.
Watch Vince Staples perform a segment of "Norf Norf":