Post Malone and Fetty Wap have joined forces for the “Welcome to the Zoo” tour, a 7-week, 22-date sweep across the United States that seeks to capitalize on the various attributes they both happen to possess: a knack for melody, a mega-hit, an exotic hair style, and a strong following within the 15-25 female demographic.

Last night, Post & Fetty performed the first of two sold-out shows at Irving Plaza, a mid-sized all-ages Manhattan concert hall one block east of Union Square. Concertgoers packed the venue full by 8:45. Wiggle room was hard to come by. A 300-pound man hoisted his drink high and used his portentous gut to bulldoze his way through a gaggle of petite white girls en route to the front of the crowd. Indeed, everybody in the audience was eager to get as close to Post & Fetty as possible, to rock back and forth to their trap lullabies and bask in the glow of their budding fame.


But first, a brief DJ set from Funkmaster Flex, who surprised the crowd with his thunderblasts on the mic. “YOU THOUGHT I WAS GONNA WASTE YOUR TIME??” he screamed.

An extreme sports highlights raged on the screen behind Flex as he treated this army of 1,000 Post/Fetty fans to 45-second forays into bangers all across the ‘lit spectrum.’ The crowd’s reaction proved a useful litmus test for each song’s popularity. Whereas Travi$ Scott’s “Antidote” elevated the energy in the building to previously unforeseen heights, Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot Nigga” got a decidedly tepid reaction, no one doing the dance, despite Flex’s exhortations.

“I AM THE BEST EVER TO DO IT,” Flex informed the crowd. He urged the crowd to raise their middle fingers and chant “FUCK YOU FLEX” before exiting the stage for 20-year-old Post Malone. 


One cannot understate the enthusiasm with which the crowd, particularly the ladies, greeted the luscious opening chord of “White Iverson,” Post Malone’s breakout smash. Malone stepped out on stage, decked out in a Yankees jersey and a patchwork overcoat that would have made him look homeless if not for the impressive corona of animal fur draped around his neck.

The crowd pressed closer and belted out every word of “White Iverson.” Malone crooned softly with a huge dopey smile plastered on his face, letting all the flashbulbs in the room ricochet off his golden grill. 

It was at this moment that I fully understood Post Malone for the first time. He radiated a positivity so immutable, so impenetrable, so absolute that his rise to fame seemed inevitable. He's not far off base from the ultra-positive stylings of DJ Khaled or Lil B, but he is probably closest in spirit to a young Marshawn Lynch, SHINING SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

Malone ripped through his entire catalog, comprised of no more than eight songs. He prefaced “What’s Up” by saying he was about to “throw the gentleman the alley” to help them make a move on the girl standing next to them.

Post Malone basically has two gears -- 1) lighting up the room with his gigantic smile, or 2) milling around the stage like it was his living room and acting as if the audience wasn’t there. At one point, he lost the crowd, which started chanting “Fetty! Fetty! Fetty!” To this, Malone nonchalantly quipped, “calm down, Fetty will be here soon. FIrst I got a special guest. Maybe you’ll like him more than me.”

Right on cue, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson marched out on stage and launched into “Window Shopper.”

For the most part, 50 rapped Malone strolled absent-mindedly behind 50, smiling broadly, his grill a-glitter. 50 stuck around for a couple more songs, including The Kanan Tape’s “Tryna Fuck Me Over,” before leaving the stage and let Malone serenade the crowd with “White Iverson” one last time -- the high-point of his set (besides 50).

Throughout his brief 40-minute set, Malone’s vocal presence was so impactful that I wondered if he was lip syncing his autotuned growl. He was definitely not lip syncing as he led the crowd in one final, glorious a capella “White Iverson” chorus. Having proven his vocal chops, Malone made his quick exit the moment “White Iverson” ended. He unceremoniously handed his mic to a stagehand and vanished offstage.

In a nutshell, Malone’s performance affirmed the tweet he sent out last week: “I don’t sweat shit.”


Fifteen minutes later, Fetty Wap arrived on stage amidst motorcycle noises and a giant ovation from the crowd. He was dressed modestly, a single chain and the red-and-white striped shirt from Where’s Waldo. He immediately launched into his deep reserve of catchy bangers. His bleached dreads, flowing out from underneath his backwards hat, were never still, whether swaying as he stood still or violently thrashing and obscuring his vision as he enthusiastically whipped his wrist.

Fetty brought jokes, too. “I broke my leg in three places and didn’t know if I could do the tour… It was probably my fault,” he said, smiling serenely. “I was on a motorbike with one eye.”

After warming up the crowd with 4-5 lesser-known tracks, Fetty was ready to bust out the hits. He prefaced “My Way” with an invitation for the crowd to join him in melody. “Y’all feeling like singing with me?” He pointed into the crowd. “You, with the hat!”

A few songs later, Fetty invited his right-hand man Monty out to perform a couple of his solo joints before rejoining him for a quick reprisal of “My Way.” Frankly, Fetty saved Monty from a crowd slowly losing interest. Fetty’s fearlessness and world-class wrist-whipping elevated the energy in the room by a factor of ten as soon as he stepped back on stage. Poor Monty even fared unfavorably next to DJ/hype man Big L 4Eva, whose gruff lyrical shouts recalled those we heard earlier from FunkMaster Flex. “Y’all gonna turn up with me?” Fetty asked the crowd earnestly. The crowd eagerly obliged as Big L 4Eva dropped “679.”

Fetty rounded off his 15-song set with “Jugg,” “Jimmy Choo,” (a.k.a. the “Slim thick with yo’ cute ass” song), & “Trap Queen.” He made no attempt to disguise his “Trap Queen” fatigue -- he referred to the song as “the last one” -- but, like Post Malone before him, he led the crowd in one final a capella sing-a-long chorus.

Fetty thanked the audience for coming to his show. He seemed sincerely grateful. Standing behind him were the dozen-odd members of his staff, most of whom grew up with him in Paterson, NJ. Selling out venues across the country and performing for legions of rabid fans haven’t fully corrupted his ego, it seems, because he is reminded of his humble origins every day.