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Damn Tour Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, and D.R.A.M. TD Garden Boston, MA Saturday July 22, 2017 Reviewed

DAMN. was a truly iconic release, reaching double platinum and truly defining Kendrick Lamar’s already impressive career. The DAMN. tour sold out multiple dates, with Travis Scott and D.R.A.M. on the bill. I had the opportunity to see the Boston show, one of the sold out shows, and I’d never been to TD Garden before.

Going in, I was excited but unsure what to expect. I was thoroughly impressed with the production value, the sound quality, and overall vibe. The crowd wasn’t terrible, or at least as terrible as it could’ve been considering it was primarily white teenagers getting drunk and high, but surprisingly not too rowdy.

D.R.A.M. and Travis Scott were fun, but overall forgettable. They made sense as openers because it seemed like a majority of the crowd were very familiar with their music. They were entertaining and it didn’t feel like too much of a drag to sit through their sets before Kendrick came on. I had no idea that Travis Scott was so popular, but it seems like about as many people who were there for Kendrick were also there for him. I know that he has a couple of really popular songs but the crowd knew every word to every song. At times it felt like he could’ve easily been the headliner because of how engaged and dedicated the audience was.
However, Kendrick put them both to shame and the moment the DAMN. tour banner came down and the Kung Fu Kenny video starte up. The energy in the venue increased tenfold, everyone chanting “Kendrick, Kendrick, Kendrick” when the lights went out. He opened up with “DNA” which set the tone for the whole performance, hard hitting and intense and nonstop. The show was a whirlwind, something was always happening. His rapping was sharp and spot on, very rarely missing a beat regardless of how much he was bouncing around the stage.

“ELEMENT” was fantastic live. I think what really blew me away consistently throughout the set was that the crowd literally knew every word to every song, even tracks off “Untitled Unmastered.” It was also hilarious to hear a bunch of white kids from the burbs singing “I do it for Compton” like, no you don’t, Brad.

The light show and visuals were so cool, with videos and pictures accompanying each song and the color scheme always changing. It was very artistic and intricate.

I was very surprised that “LUST” was on the setlist, a personal favorite of mine off of his latest album. It reminds me very much of an Anderson .Paak song, where Lamar’s vocals are at the forefront. It absolutely held up live, which was even more surprising, even though he messed up the words a few times but to be fair the verses get pretty confusing. I also loved that he played a bit of “XXX”, another standout track that I didn’t expect to hear live.

“PRIDE” was a highlight as well, with Kendrick taking it down a notch and slowing it down, being more laid back but his presence was still there. It really could’ve fallen flat because it’s a slower song, but he followed it up with “LOVE” which is also a mellow tune but probably one of the most popular off the album. He picked up the energy again with “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” which got everyone super hyped up, bringing it all back around for the grand finale.

He ended with “HUMBLE” and allowed the crowd to rap an entire verse while all the other sound was cut. It’s moments like that one that show the true power of music. Thousands of people were singing this man’s lyrics back at him and it wasn’t just the chorus or a few words, but a full rap verse. Kendrick knows his reach, he knows his influence, and last night it was clear that he’s one of the most iconic and powerful rappers of this decade.

Damn, Kendrick. That was one of the best shows I’ve seen in awhile, and I have no doubt that DAMN. is going to continue selling, continue permeating the media, continue making a difference. It doesn’t end here. It’s one for the history books.

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