Tyler The Creator and Vince Staples brought their respective albums to life.
The entry line was wrapped around two blocks as kids dressed in dad hats and Odd Future shirts were being told to keep to the right of the sidewalk to prevent blocking traffic. The anticipation for Tyler, The Creator and Vince Staples’ co-headlining tour date in Montreal was very real last night.
It’s an interesting pairing considering that at one point, fans tried to pit the two against each other after Tyler trolled the internet by saying he doesn’t like Vince. However, much has changed since those days. Tyler’s veered away from the abrasive “shock rap” that once got him turned away at the U.K. border and banned from New Zealand. Vince has established himself as a dominating entity in music, who went from opening up for Tyler, The Creator and A$AP Rocky to co-headlining a show with the Odd Future frontman.
Together, they brought a memorable evening to the sold-out crowd at MTelus. The show kicked off with DJ Taco heating up the crowd. For about a half hour, he dropped some big hits from the past 10 years from Trippie Redd’s “Dark Knight Gummo” to M.I.A’s “Paper Planes” and Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit Of Happiness." He made the mosh pit looked like a wave pool.
Shortly after concluding the DJ set, the venues lights went dim. A screen onstage started a countdown from 7:45, while noises of waves emerged from the speakers. Grainy footage of a brief news clip played and shifted into the intro of “BagBak.” Through bright white lights and fog, a silhouette of Vince Staples appeared on stage, dressed in an all black attire with a bulletproof vest. He followed-up the intro with “Rain Comes Down” and “Ramona Park Is Yankee Stadium” before acknowledging the crowd.
“My name is Vince Staples and welcome to the show,” he said, before jumping into “Homage.” After playing several Big Fish Theory cuts, he jumped into some favorites from the past including “Prima Donna” and “Senorita.”
Vince’s show was not an average rap show. He didn’t interact too much with the crowd but instead, used his staging, lights and transitions to draw the audience in. In many ways, it felt like a performance art piece rather than a concert. For example, the lights went completely dark when “Alyssa Interlude” played while footage of Amy Winehouse’s interview appeared on the screen. As the lights came on, Vince appeared on stage right, standing still with a microphone stand as he performed his parts of the song without much movement.
He saved the bangers for the end of the set. He concluded with “Big Fish,” “Norf Norf” and “Yeah Right.” Once the crowd sang the last bit of “Yeah Right,” he thanked the crowd and made his exit. A lo-fi version of the “Star Spangled Banner” began to play and was abruptly cut short by static.
In the span of a half hour, Staples’ stage would be transformed into a natural world resembling an abandoned playground in the forest. The lights dimmed, and the crowd chanted “Tyler” until the orchestra based intro to “Where The Flower Blooms” kicked off. The rapper appeared on top of the ramp, wearing a neon green coat and matching green shorts. He invited the crowd to chant the song’s hook before jumping off the ramp and performing towards the edge of the stage.
Compared to Vince, Tyler was much more interactive with the crowd, ranting about how much he likes Tim Hortons’ White Hot Chocolate while simultaneously shitting on their donuts. It took him about seven songs to get into some older fan favorites. After doing a smooth medley of “911” and “Mr. Lonely,” Tyler jumped into “IFHY” which had the entire audience, from the floor to the balcony, singing every single word to the song without missing a beat.
After jumping into his breakthrough single, “Yonkers,” Tyler revisited more of his older catalog with “She” and “48” before picking the energy back up with “Tamale.” The rapper took a moment to thank the crowd for knowing his older catalog and continued to cap off his set with more recent efforts.
Tyler and Vince’s sets were two ends of the same spectrum. Vince didn’t try to engage the audience by prompting them to cheer or scream too much, relying on the intensity of his set. The bulletproof vest took on an added sense of thematic weight, considering the tragic events of the past week’s shooting in Florida. To confirm, his intro song closed out with the words, “tell the president to suck a dick, because we on now.”
Tyler was clearly the main attraction for the event, even if it was a co-headlining tour. Since his introduction at nineteen, the Flower Boy has matured both as a musician and a person, growing alongside his audience. His performance showed a side that few would have predicted five or six years ago, focusing on his delivery as a vocalist as opposed to the crazy tactics he used to run with during his come-up.
Overall, Tyler, The Creator and Vince Staples brought their respective albums to life. More importantly, they further proved themselves as unique forces in hip hop with necessary voices.