Tyler, The Creator’s “Call Me If You Get Lost”concert completed a two night, sold out stint at Madison Square Garden last night, and also completed a twelve year career trajectory that took him from (long breath):
The Theatre At MSG
One night at Madison Square Garden
Two nights at Madison Square Garden
That’s some career, right there. From the leader of Odd Future as a sixteen year old teenage reprobate, a f—-t word, bitch spraying clown with a trip to his analyst and daddy issues, to a 31 year old man who takes the time to give us two long speeches, the worst of which boiled down to work hard if you ever wanna get anywhere.
Speeches like that, saying stuff like don’t get distracted by the search for fame, are not only cliches but also a lie: you can work yourself to death and still not break in the music business, or you can post some songs on Soundcloud and hold onto your hat. Either way it is 10% inspiration and 90% pure luck. Tyler should certainly take immense pride in his achievement as, after a great beginning he dropped two not so good albums, Wolf and Cherry Bomb (consider it his Adult Swim moment, as he was making shows for the network at the time) till returned as a same sexer, pop genius with the excellent Flower Boy, personal best Igor, and current hit(ish) Call Me If You Get Lost. Last night he put this into perspective advising that artists who have half billion streams can’t fill a 400 capacity club and can’t compare to his achievement. Point taken.
It was a fabulous evening of music, run like clockwork. Opening at 7pm on the dot was the bizarre, somewhat Adult Swim-y itself presentation of Teezo Touchdown, I wasn’t blown away but “Blackout” was excellent. The biggest disappointment was Vince Staples on the B Stage with only the lights to draw you to him, the audience were as bemused as I was, we couldn’t hear what he was saying and his lack of energy was alarming and you can hear why he never took off the way it was thought he would after “Norf Norf”.
The final act before the main event was a woman who will be headlining next time around, Kali Uchis. The bilingual Uchis came from a hard knock life Colombian background though born and raised in West Virginia and raised through the ranks swiftly since 2017. She has opened for acts like Gorillaz and Lana Del Rey and now Tyler. Her album sales (and singles actually, even as featured artist) never finds her in the top ten but she is hugely popular and is very attractive (the word is hot), rolling on a sofa with four dancers, but the sound was muddy and all pretaped (to be fair, so was everyone else), and if she doesn’t seem visible on the charts her streaming numbers are very strong; you might remember her from her feature on Tyler’s “See You AGain”. On stage she is quiet yet saucy and hits the high points with a set highlight closer of “i want war (BUT I NEED PEACE)”, “After the Storm” and (she sings in Spanish as well) “After the Storm”. Oddly, she didn’t come out to sing with Tyler on “See You Again”.
The rule of thumb is this is Tyler’s best tour yet, still you could make a case for the “Igor” 2019 trek (here) helped by a great opening act, Jaden Smith joined by his sister Willow, and a great feature, A$AP Rocky with Tyler for “Who Dat Boy”. But 2019 loosened its grip towards the end of the show and from the arrival in a 1939 Rolls Royce (dat boy snaps at a fan, “I didn’t ask you” after he asked another fan what the car was, later he would tell us off for throwing things at the stage: “I’M TRYING TO PERFORM”) . The first set on the mainstage replica of the front of a house with Tyler rapping up the stairs and through the windows during a portion where he covered a slice of Call Me If You Get Lost, the first three songs off the the album performed in succession. Another three songs and Tyler jumps in a motorboat (I know) to Stage B where Vince performed, now decked out like an island. You may be wondering why I haven’t’ mentioned the DJ or band, it’s because there was none but this part was better than the first , with songs from all points of his career including “Yonkers” and “She”, though performed as a medley. Of course, Tyler could have lengthened his set by 15 minutes and given us both and more. On the return trip to the main stage he stopped the motorboat and performed the first of nonstop show stoppers with “I Thought You Wanted To Dance” serenaded by the audience. The final five songs of the evening on the main stage were as great as Tyler ever gets, opening with “Who Dat Boy”, a huge singalong to “I Think” and reaching a zenith with the penultimate “Magic Wand”.
Much like his career, the brilliantly constructed set went from height to height, it was like a mini fest with Tyler, The Curator. Whatever else you might say about Tyler, he has become one of the great rap artists and a major league pop performer. Congrats to all
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