The first time I came to Boston I played the Middle East Upstairs. There was like 80 people. I’m so grateful to come to Boston and stand on this stage and perform this sold-out show” yelled Gerald—better known as G-Eazy—during his show at the Agganis Arena. This venue contains 7,200 seats, a far cry from the first time he played Beantown. It’s a true testament to Gerald’s accomplishments during the past few years. He’s a real hustler.
The show itself was a hit. However, there were a number of difficulties upon arriving at the venue. The first issue was finding press passes to actually enter the event. The tickets’ location seemed to change with each staff member we talked to. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that the schedule sent out to press covering the show was an hour late. In fact, most of the press missed the first opener, Anthony Russo. Despite the frenetic start, everything was smooth sailing once we got inside.
Marco Anthony Archer, better known as Phora was the first to meet the criticism of the photographers and writers. A rapper from California, he started out as a tattoo artist before turning to music. While his stage presence was subpar, his lyrics were thoughtful and well put together. His song “Fake Smiles” was especially impressive with lyrics such as, “But, we hate ourselves because we run from the people we love / And we all hold on to the past ‘cause we miss what it was.” It was incredibly relatable. The impact of his verses left the audience in silent thought. His style of music is defined by producers Eskupe and Anthro Beats and rappers J. Cole, Hopsin and Logic. Leaving the stage, he belted one last message into the microphone, “I’m just a human being. I come on this stage and don’t know how y’all gonna react to me. Thank you!” In short, Phora is a relatable artist whose only need for improvement lies in his stage presence.
Trippie Redd was the next to take the stage. Dressed in a downright absurd number of chains, one questioned how he was able to bounce around with such ease. He swagged his way up to the stage followed by a large hype crew of at least six people. Many were stuck wondering what their purpose was as they seemed to be bodies stuck in the background. Originally born Michael White IV, he’s relatively new to the scene with his first EP released in 2016. Redd’s entrance consisted of him walking out and amping up the audience with a recording yelling, “Fuck Donald Trump! Fuck Donald Trump!” His set was explosive and he definitely took control of the stage. However, he spent a large portion of the first three songs dousing the front row of general admission and the photographers in the pit with water. Additionally, his security was less than pleasant when Redd attempted to break the barrier and interact with the crowd. Many photographers were pushed rather harshly and a few even caught a stray elbow or two. Nevertheless, this was a small bump in the road. Redd’s set consisted of high energy songs and a psychedelic projection on the screen behind him, constantly lit up with images of burning skulls and crosses
Finally, it was time for G-Eazy to take command of the stage. Initially, audience members were less than pleased with the somewhat long set strike and setup that needed to take place before Gerald could hit the stage. This was largely due to audience anticipation. Gerald’s music has gained immense popularity over the past few years, and diehard fans can rap just about every song. The moment the lights dimmed the displeasure in the audience completely disappeared. G-Eazy bounced on stage, and before the first song was even finished an eager audience member threw her bra onstage. Gerald was nice enough to hang it on the mic stand. For the most part, the show was made up of tracks from his new album The Beautiful & Damned. It was divided into three sections with the following apt names; Act I: The Beautiful, Act II: The Damned and Act III: The Encore. The stage setup was very much worth the wait. It allowed for projections to be played across white scrim. The scrim could be left either opaque or allow for the audience members to see Gerald’s band in the back.
There was also a costume change. G-Eazy entered in an all-black ensemble finished off with a black leather jacket with an embroidered white skull on the back. Before beginning his song “Leviathan” he did a 180, changing everything from his pants to his jacket to all white. The color choices were interesting considering black was used for the beautiful portion of the concert and white was used for the damned section of the show. Perhaps this was G-Eazy poking fun at the traditional association between white and images of angels and purity. Regarding the music, the show was nothing short of spectacular. Gerald’s fans are so dedicated the show could have almost gone on without him. They know every word. At one point, the audience erupted into loud cheers after his song “Buddha”. Instead of quieting down after the initial cheer, volume level only increased. It seemed that Gerald was at a loss for words, flashing the audience a heart with his hands and bowing down to them. He also threw out, “Is it okay if I call Boston my second home? If I was able to speak to past-me and if I told him we sold out an entire arena or that we sold out a fucking tour or that Donald Trump was president he’d say ‘Fuck that’”.
Nothing seemed to die down during the encore. Gerald decided to crowd surf. How he managed to return to the stage so swiftly remains a mystery as the entirety of general admission surged forward, reaching out to touch this rap legend. Additionally, he played two of his biggest hits, “Him & I” and “Me, Myself & I”, during this encore. This forced his fans to wait until the bitter end to hear some of their favorites. He made up for it by chucking one of his black vans into the audience for one lucky spectator to take home. At the end of the day, G-Eazy is a mastermind with his tour setup and a genius when it comes to crafting meaningful music. Although his US tour is almost over, there are still opportunities to witness him is his element in Europe. If given the chance to watch one of his live performances, take it. You certainly won’t regret it.
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