Wow. I think I was affected more than I care to admit after seeing Tyler, the Creator live. Such a mixture of insanity, agony, rage and madness enveloped me and delved deep into my body the longer I was bounced around the crowd, having my ears vibrate with the reverb of the music. But I digress.
The night, and actually the whole day started fairly hectically. I over slept, had to find a ride to a water polo game, study for a test and then find a way to get my brother and myself to the concert all before I ate lunch that day. The chaos stopped for a little, but as soon as evening came, I rushed from my water polo game, to Subway to Sunshine all within a matter of an hour. So I arrived fairly ready to get rowdy. And guess what, we still ended up waiting about an hour or hour and half for any kind of movement on stage. I assumed there would be some sort of warm up act, so when Taco rushed on stage and began DJing, I assumed it was some random New Mexican who paid for the right to warm up the crowd for Tyler. When I realized that Afro was in fact belonging to Taco, I joined in with the crowds yelling and began to hype myself up. So Taco played some popular rap songs, people began pushing and right as it seemed he would end, Taco leaped into the crowd. The moshing hit its first high point of the night, and soon after Tyler walked onto stage with the beat to “French” playing. The first thing I noticed was how big Tyler’s head is. I felt like he had a soccer ball for a head, and it was almost eerie being that close to someone as polarizing as Tyler. Someone I had read so much about and heard say the most ridiculous things was maybe 15 feet away from me, rapping.
So people went crazy, I went crazy, it was crazy. I screamed the few lyrics I knew back at Tyler with as guttural of a voice as I could but most of the time I couldn’t hear what was being rapped or even knew the lyrics when I could hear. During the whole show, his facial expressions were almost demonic, and seeing him in the flesh, and knowing there were people who had waited in line since 1:00 p.m. that afternoon, seemed to make him glow with a combination of pride and disgust.
The whole show fit the definition of insanity I have in my brain almost perfectly. It was uncomfortable, it was loud, it was angry and it was especially confusing. Every single person in the sold out crowd was attempting to mosh and push whoever was next to them out of the way, but because of how many people were jam packed into Sunshine, the only thing that was happening was people being smashed into the people on the rail, and when they finally had enough and pushed us all back, everyone fell upon one an other.
Sweat was everywhere from the minute Taco hit the stage. Most people were drenched within minutes due to all the motion and the claustrophobic feeling that enveloped the crowd. In nothing but a bro tank, my shoulders became soaked, and as my soaked shoulders rubbed with people next to me, the lint off of their shirts started to get caught in my arm hair. It was one of the most disgusting things I had ever had to deal with and my hair felt pulled and began to burn with the friction from everyone dancing/ moshing next to me. Along the same time, the sweat of everyone else in the theatre seemed to be getting shared like spam on the Internet and I could almost taste the saltiness of other people’s excretions. It began to gross me out as the show went on and I realized that mosquitos could probably be bred in this marsh like setting. But it was nothing compared to when some random guy looked up at me and said “Its not a concert until someone throws up” and I quickly looked down and imagined I had just stepped into someone’s vomit. I ran away after that, because around the same time I had taken a blow to the head and was worried about being concussed. I ended up almost to the far left of Sunshine right under the tallest stack of speakers.
And lo and behold, “Yonkers” began playing and Tyler made his way up the stack and sat on the tallest part he could get too, right around the part in the song where he stabs Bruno Mars. I knew he would jump into the crowd. I just knew it. I have never been as sure of something as in that moment in my life, and when he didn’t jump (for obvious reasons, not only is that stack at least 15 feet tall, Tyler broke his foot doing something similar about a year earlier) I was highly disappointed. I was rejuvenated though as he told the crowd that his next song was the first time he had ever played it live, “Tamale.” It goes hard, and it was one of the few I recognized off of Wolf so my energy grew enough to attempt to enter the true mosh pit. And I will be honest, seeing some of those privileged white kids mosh was scarier than any of my metal experiences. At least at metal shows I understand that if I am to be knocked down, someone will help me up, that’s just how metal shows work. But here, where the average fan is an over privileged white kid who has never been to a concert before in his life but got super trashed to come to this and pretend like they could get away with some of the things Tyler raps about, well. I don’t trust those kids one bit to not legitimately try and hurt me. Metal kids understand the music, these kids just understood the violence of what they were doing, and like all over privileged kids who have never faced any sort of adversary or problem in their life, they want to do extreme and often foolish things.
It may not have been the rowdiest crowd I have ever dealt with, but the level of conscious sanity was the lowest I have ever experienced. Tyler is a cult figure, there is no way around that, and I know that I know more about him and OFWGKTA than the average person, but I also know my obsession with him is quite a bit less. I knew I could not pass up a chance to see one of the faces of my high school rap game, even at the risk of dealing with his fans. In the end though, it was more than worth it, getting a chance to peek inside of Tyler’s mind as he performs, and the minds of his raved and rabid fans was if nothing more, a very potent social eye opening.