Tyler, The Creator came with all the vibes at Veterans Memorial Coliseum this past Saturday. The Odd Future frontrunner was on tour for his Grammy nominated album, “Flower Boy”.
This was my first time in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, but it felt like a smaller Moda Center in almost every sense. It was also my first time ever seeing Tyler perform live, so I was super excited to see if he lived up to the hype and really gives a great show. I’ve seen him in videos and TV shows like we all have, but I wanted to see if the 26 year old Ladera Heights native brought the same energy to the stage. Call it healthy skepticism.
It was hot as Satan’s breath in the morning inside the coliseum. I don’t know if it was due to the amount of bodies packed in the stands, or the fact I was wearing my late grandfather’s heavy rain coat; my only raincoat in one of the rainiest cities in the U.S. Underneath that, I was wearing my favorite “Respect Black Women” hoodie which is also a little thick. I was on public transportation and it was a little cold and rainy so I had to prepare for both occasions.
Odd Future member, Taco was one of the openers for the show. Long Beach representer Vince Staples tore the stage down after Taco. He kept the crowd hype with acclaimed songs like “Norf Norf” and “Blue Suede”. Now the crowd was waiting on Tyler. The music that played while the stage crew got ready for Tyler’s set reminded of me back home, growing up in Mississippi. Stevie Wonder’s “Innervisons” playing as I wipe the crust from my eyes on Saturday mornings, or as I called it, “Cleanup Saturday”. The smell of breakfast intertwined with potpourri and cleaning products gently brush against my nose, letting me know what the mood for the day is. Tyler’s aesthetic has been pretty 70’s soul as of late, so the songs playing like Stevie wonders and other artist of the like was a nice detail in the consistency of theme of his album. Other proof can be found on Tyler’s most recent project, certain tracks from his prior project, and in visuals like “PERFECT” with Kali Uchis.
Tyler’s set was the perfect compliment to “Flower Boy”. It placed Tyler, also known as “Wolf Haley”, amongst trees and and seasonal backdrop that changed with the mood of the song he played. One of the trees had “fallen” and it ended up being a stairway for him. Tyler admitted this was his first time playing a venue as big as the coliseum and he was happy to see a solid turnout. He also admitted that the set was “expensive as fuck” so he was glad that crowd liked it.
The Flower Boy was in peak “Black Boy Joy” mode as he let his music take over momentarily and then snap back to ferocious and hard hitting bars. One of the reasons I feel like Tyler has so much continued relevance and success with the younger market, like high school kids and adjacent demographics, is due to the transparency in his music. He lets his listeners know it’s okay not to feel your best and it’s okay to not be 100% ready to take on the world. At the same time, he shows people how to have fun and not care about what a soul thinks of you. To some kids that may be listening to Tyler, the kids who’s just dipping their baby toe in the shallow end self love pool, his music could be the swift kick in the ass into the amazing abyss of personal love.
Tyler played songs from “Flower Boy” of course, but he also played songs from old albums “Wolf” and “Cherry Bomb”. Then Tyler did the most astonishing thing for me. Well, maybe not me personally, but I felt as if he read my mind when he told his DJ to play “She”. It was a year since he performed the song live on stage. “She” was the song that put Tyler on my radar. It was the summer 2010. My freshman year for me at college. The majority of my highschool years for me musically only consisted of Lupe Fiasco, Lil Wayne, and a plethora of 90s’ gold school hiphop. When I got to college, I heard “She” for the first time. The first verse was all I needed to hear to know Tyler was going to be a rapper I wanted to hear more of on a regular basis. I had never heard a rapper with such raw and visceral bars like that since Eminem. Since then, I’ve watched Tyler gradually become the star he is today. Whether it’s his comedy show “Loiter Squad” or how he’s been putting together arguably one of the best Hiphop festivals the past few years,Camp Flog Gnaw, Tyler has really come into his own.
While the Golf Wang CEO was performing, the middle of general flooring turned to a mosh pit while a random person, not Tyler, was crowd surfing for about two bars of “I Ain’t Got Time!” Wolf commanded attention on stage. With his “Flower Boy”, he had a good amount of songs that started off pretty slow tempo. There were a lot of old soul and a 70’s influences on the album but when the song began to pick up tempo, the Flower Boy’s entire demeanor switches gears and he began to eviscerate his verses, showing the crowd that what they’re hearing on wax wasn’t all special effects from his engineering team.
Tyler told the crowd that he actually likes Portland.
“It’s rains a lot, but …it’s cute as fuck” he laughed as he continued to talk about how some of the colored houses and neighborhoods in Portland really appealed to him. Wolf ended his set with “See You Again”. He told the crowd how he had to get ready for the Grammys the following day. It all makes sense now with his new hairstyle he debuted on the red carpet.