As fans walked through the doors and security of Atlanta’s State Farm Arena October 3, they smelled sweat, tears and marijuana. Hurrying past the merch booth selling GOLF Le FLUER* merch, posters and blonde wigs, fans began the search for seating.
Tyler, the Creator has always been weird, out there and different. Tyler was one of the founders of Odd Future, a west coast rap group that included Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, Jasper Dolphin, Taco, and other artists. As Odd Future grew, Tyler began the release of his solo albums.
At only 18 years old, his first release was “Bastard” in 2009. The first album can only be found on YouTube, iHeartRadio and Play Music. The album, like its title, is rough, vulgar and angry. This attitude really begins to set the tone for Tyler as an artist. He then followed with “Goblin” (2011), “Wolf” (2013), “Cherry Bomb” (2015), as well as solo songs and EPs within that time span such as “Yonkers”, “Sandwitches” and others. All of these works have the same common themes: aggression combined with ostentatious and troubled lyrics and energy. In a way, this was Tyler, the Creator’s brand for many years of his career.
That all changed with the release of “Flower Boy” in 2017. This release shows a side of Tyler many fans and critics never fathomed possible: softer, kinder and entirely less vulgar. Lover boy Tyler brought a different kind of attention to him as an artist and person.
Some people assumed “Flower Boy” was just an experimental album for Tyler and that he would soon return to his original style. But with the release of “Igor,” Tyler showed that he was evolving with his age. Even though he is turning to a less aggressive style, he is still the same man.
The version of himself Tyler showcases in his newest album “Igor” was on full display at the concert in Atlanta. The show opened with Gold Link and Blood Orange before the stadium grew increasingly louder with anticipation and chants for Tyler to make his entrance.
The very moment the lights dim and the spotlight shone on the stage, the entire auditorium filled with screams. Tyler strutted across the stage wearing the signature Igor look: a blonde wig and a pastel suit. Starting his performance with “Igor’s theme” followed by other “Igor” tracks, Tyler’s performance was lively, full of dancing and energy. He busted out a combination of imposing dance moves: the moonwalk, moving himself like a puppet and hopping around and flailing his arms while still maintaining choreography.
Tyler stopped only a handful of times during the concert to talk to the audience about his love for Atlanta and how different it is from where he grew up in Los Angeles. He also told the audience to “Shut the f**k up,” among other topics.
After performing six songs from “Igor” including “Puppet,” “I think,” “Earfquake” and others, Tyler paused to thank every new fan who found his music recently. He then gave a special shout out to the fans who fell in love with his older music. He proceeded to perform songs from “Wolf”, “Cherry Bomb”, “Goblin” and others, and in doing so sent the crowd absolutely wild.
During this second half of his performance Tyler portrayed his older performances. He was crazy, alive and loud as pyrotechnics shot from the ground as if his energy caused an “Earfquake.” His wig almost came off.
Songs like “Domo23,” “Tamale,” and “Yonkers” portrayed the pure energy of loiter squad Tyler, and fans couldn’t get enough of it. Spirit and passion flipped the switch for the crowd. Mosh pits formed on the floor, bottles and hats flew overhead, and phones flashed as fans captured Tyler’s magic.
As the concert and energy died down, fans calmed and watched in awe as Tyler performed on an elevated platform while the screen behind him navigated outer space. His sweat glistened as he caught his breath and performed “See you again.” The soulful, rhythmic beat combined with the passion behind the lyrics captured the audience in a sweaty jumble of emotions and adrenaline.
Tyler and the audience ended the night by singing “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS,” and an audience full of fans old and new sang in harmony, “Announcing our things and you don’t know how to inform. Your power and dreams, though you cannot go through all. You’re caught in this matrix, don’t know where you’re playing. You made it, could be your favorite if you make it your friend. Are we still friends? This can’t end.”