Tyler, the Creator performs his dynamic album “IGOR” live to worshiping audience members in San Diego
In an absurdly long line outside of Pechanga Arena, a sea of teens sporting beanies, mom jeans, and scuffed Golf le Fleur shoes eagerly waited to see Tyler, the Creator. Dyed hair and sweaty bodies pressed against one another as the doors finally opened, and everyone pushed themselves toward the front of the line. The excitement was tangible. The wait was over. The iconic rapper would be performing in less than two hours.
Tyler Okonma, more commonly known as Tyler, the Creator, has made quite a name for himself in the hip-hop industry. Although his adored album “Flower Boy” established his development in his musical maturity, he does not limit himself to any one specific sound. His latest album “IGOR” showcases his ability to continuously grow as a musician while still maintaining the unique sound that separates him from other artists. The production quality on “IGOR,” as well as the relatable story of love and heartbreak embedded into the lyrics, makes for an immersive album that anyone can fall in love with.
The show began at 7 p.m on the dot with the hip-hop and R&B rapper Goldlink as the first opening act. His high-energy songs mixed with his dynamic stage presence hyped up the entire venue and had those in the pit moshing ten minutes into his performance. Goldlink and Tyler, the Creator share a similar fanbase as both of their music styles coincide. The two even have a song together titled “U Say,” which was released a few months prior. The audience members immediately recognized this song when the first few notes echoed through the arena, and the crowd roared along in union to this performance. He then went on to perform some of his other songs off of his latest album “Diaspora” such as “Cokewhite” and “Days Like This,” maintaining his energy throughout the entirety of his set. Although openers typically have a difficult time getting the audience to engage with, or even care about, their performances, Goldlink was easily able to get the crowd pumped up and ready for the rest of the concert.
Following Goldlink, singer/songwriter Devonté Hynes entered the stage. Hynes, better known by his stage name Blood Orange, was a stark juxtaposition from Goldlink’s performance but in all the right ways possible. His songs were more mellow, hypnotizing the audience through his beautiful vocals and mesmerizing music. Every single word sung by Blood Orange was devoured by an audience hungry for more. “I had to see you live for more / You said it before / You wish I seen the saint you were before,” he sang near the end of his performance, compelling every head in the audience to sway, eyes closed, to his melodic message, not wanting the moment to end.
However, despite the fantastic performances put on by the two opening acts, the crowd was clearly growing impatient to see Tyler. The venue felt electric as the buzz before his set grew larger and larger with every passing moment. Finally, after much anticipation, Tyler stepped out onto the stage. The venue erupted. The cheers bled into his first song, “IGOR’S THEME,” and didn’t stop for the remainder of the show. In his white wig and blue powdered suit, Tyler stomped around the stage and led the crowd through other songs off of “IGOR,” such as “I THINK,” “A BOY IS A GUN*,” and “NEW MAGIC WAND.” Tyler, the Creator did not stop at simply performing his songs live, however. He went above and beyond with his performance, adding in additional opening music to introduce his songs and creating small twists within the music itself. For example, before he jumped into “EARFQUAKE,” he performed a full arrangement of his song on the piano. This not only served to prove his talent and his versatility as an artist, but it was also a creative way to augment one of the most popular tracks on the album.
Sandwiched in between tracks off of “IGOR” were some of Tyler’s other songs from previous albums. He brought back old bops, such as “Yonkers” and of course performed songs from “Flower Boy.” “See You Again” was the second to last song on his setlist, and it was the perfect balance of sweetness and nostalgia to perform near the end of the show.
Tyler’s final song was the iconic last track off of “IGOR.” As the entire crowd sang along to “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?,” the stadium illuminated from the audience’s phone flashlights, a palatable bittersweet realization filled the arena as everybody realized the show was coming to an end. “I don’t want to end the season on a bad episode,” Tyler sang, and he certainly did not. We all hope to see you again.
Venue: Pechanga Arena
Date: Oct. 19, 2019
Image courtesy of Consequence of Sound.