An unlikely hip-hop double header packed Rogers Arena on Tuesday evening when A$AP Rocky and Tyler, The Creator stopped through as part of their North American tour.
The tour, which began in September, supports A$AP’s At.Long.Last.ASAP and Tyler’s Cherry Bomb. And with the early doors and short set list times announced, Rogers Arena began to fill as early as 7 p.m- when opener Vince Staples took the stage. Virtually unknown to the mainstream, Staples spent time performing tracks off his recent album Summertime ’06. The talented up-and-comer announced his return to Vancouver on March 1, for those who may have missed his brief 25-minute set. Another short set followed with Danny Brown hitting the stage. All energy, Danny Brown’s presence excited the fans, who began to fill the arena at this stage.
The fans were mostly millennials, in full Coachella-like festival gear at times, and the smell of B.C greens and spilled beer permeated through the arena. Throughout each performance, smartphones were out Snapchatting and recording every moment. And when Tyler, The Creator finally hit the stage, the first thing he asked was to put the phones away. “Take your photos now, because for this song, I want everyone to jump up,” he told the screaming crowd. But, of course, phones were out despite his polite request, especially as he opened with Deathcamp.
Tyler’s incredible high jumps and energetic dance moves made the crowd go wild – perhaps too wild at times, as at least two fights were seen on the floor. “Yo I can give you some music to fight to if you want,” Tyler said at one point. But that didn’t ruin his evening, as he got the crowd jumping along with him during Jamba and IFHY.
His 50-minute set was then followed by an equally long wait as the stage set was up for the evening’s headliner. When the backdrop curtain was lifted, the stage revealed a three-storey platform with two DJs and visuals on each level. Lights, smoke, and projections made it clear who was stealing the show. As A$AP finally made his appearance, he began with the intro to JD, and slowly transitioned to Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2. Joined by three hype guys, fans raised their hands and sang (and even rapped) the lyrics of each track. The difference between Tyler and A$AP was clear when A$AP slowed it down, stood with a mic on his second level, and performed L$D. A mix of old and new tracks followed, and a cannon shot out dollar bills during M’$.
It came as a surprise to everyone when 30 minutes through, A$AP announced he was on his last track for the evening. He gave a heartfelt thanks to Vancouver saying, “You all contributed to our culture. Let’s inspire each other. I want to say thank you to all y’all.” As Wild For The Night played, Tyler got back on stage, casually biking around. And just like that, the show came to – what felt like – an abrupt end. Although his 40-minute set was electric, and got the arena shaking at times, fans certainly expected more time out of the headliner. On my way out, I overheard one fan sum it up, “Why wasn’t that the concert the whole time? I felt like I was ripped off.”