Sunday, September 15, 2019

Travis Scott: Trip to Astroworld

Liz Foster ’22

A&E Editor

This Saturday night, I hopped in a rocket (read: Uber) and blasted off to meet Travis Scott in Astroworld. Scott’s ASTROWORLD: WISH YOU WERE HERE tour has grossed over thirty million dollars, and after paying over $100 myself to sit in the 200’s, I understand why.

My journey into Travis Scott’s psychedelic, bass boosted world began with a lackluster set from Sheck Wes. Granted, I went into the show actually knowing three Sheck songs-one of them being “Mo Bamba”-so I wasn’t off to a great start. His stage presence felt more suited to a venue with a maximum capacity of 1,000, not a sold out arena that fits 16,000 people. The single screen accompanying his set flashed images and videos, but none that were memorable enough for me to recall not even a full day later. Sheck’s energy was lively, but monotonous; however, fans in the pit seemed to be having a good time. The moment that made up for thirty minutes of lost time came when “Mo Bamba’s” twinkling piano filled the area. Screaming “Fuck, Shit, Bitch” with thousands of others produced a kind of solidarity only understandable in 2019.

Travis Scott took the stage shortly after 9 p.m., and he came in with a bang. A screen on one of the arena’s two stages projected a video filled with neon nostalgia and eerie images before exploding into an animated butterfly. “STARGAZING” soon flooded the arena as Travis appeared in a literal blaze of glory onto the smaller of the two stages. The energy was unmatchable even away from the floor. Having heard for years that Travis Scott was one of rap’s best live performers, I finally understood the hype.

“STARGAZING” set a strong tone, but even less popular songs still managed to capture the audience’s attention. The high production value of Astroworld was tangible as Travis and guests rode a literal roller coaster and carousel during the show. Before the journey above the floor during “Can’t Say,” a screen displaying “LOOK MOM I CAN FLY” prepared the audience for the theatrical feat they were about to witness. The giant astronaut waiting on the main stage watched as first Travis, then later his guests of choice, rode above the crowded floor to “Antidote.”

Astroworld’s set list checked off every box it could have. Outstanding feature? ZEZE. Throwback? Don’t Play. Classic? 90210. Vibey? HOUSTONFORNICATION. Sicko Mode? SICKO MODE. Travis Scott journeyed through his discography, pleasing both new and old fans alike. The only flaws in this method was Travis’ continuous stopping of songs. The opening notes of “Nightcrawler” burst through the XL Arena speakers, filling me with intangible amounts of joy, only to cut off immediately.

Similarly, two of my other favorite songs “NC-17” and “Upper Echelon” were ended just before they could fully blossom. Perhaps it is my bias towards these particular songs, but Travis repeatedly killed songs just as they were pushing the audience into the realm of peak hypeness.

Going to Astroworld was a fantastic use of my Saturday night. Although the floor was definitely the most life changing place to be, screaming songs from the upper levels of the arena felt wholly validating. Travis Scott, in combination with his expensive equipment, put on a show ripe with energy and professionalism. The concert didn’t feel like only one stop on a tour, but an event in itself. I took a trip to Astroworld, now it’s time to say Wish You Were.

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