REVIEW: Travis Scott at Fiserv Forum
It admittedly takes a lot to hold this generation of concert-goers’ attention for an extended period of time these days. Every show has to feel bigger and better than the last, and if you aren’t turning out the hits constantly, you better have something for the fans’ Instagram stories in the interim. With that logic in mind, Travis Scott’s “Astroworld” tour was exactly the live experience tailored to the Insta-obssesed generation, with one of the biggest production setups that you’ll likely ever see for some time. Friday night’s set accomplished what many artists strive and fail to do; make their concerts feel much bigger than “just a show”.
After opener (and former Bradley Tech attendee) Sheck Wes hyped the crowd up with a 20 or so minute set on the main stage, it was time to really kick things into high gear. The show began with an retro ad for the Astroworld theme park, explosions, and Scott opening the show on the B-stage across the arena, complete with a motorized loop that he, and later several fans, rode throughout the early part of the show. Visually, the show was peak sensory overload, with strobes throughout the arena, smoke, fireballs, pyro, and just about any other visual effect you could imagine.
The crowd on the floor at Fiserv Forum was a veritable mosh pit for the duration of the night, flooding the stages and keeping their hands up at every song, as Scott ripped through tracks from “Astroworld”, with “Butterfly Effect” eliciting a huge response, and a quick dip into his guest verse from 2 Chainz’ “4 AM”. There was no shortage of hits throughout the near-90 minute set, and even when things mellowed out in the middle of the show with tracks like “Skyfall” and SZA collab “Love Galore”, the Milwaukee crowd was still engaged with the show, taking a much needed breather before things escalated again. Screens dropped over the crowd to project Houston-esque neon images and later Scott himself performing.
After a version of “Stop Trying To Be God” that would eventually be reduced to just an acapella performance while a cross showed over Scott’s heart, things were back to full speed to bring the show home. The final portion of the set featured Scott on a rollercoaster suspended above the crowd for breakout “Antidote” and “Goosebumps”, and you’re reading this without amazement at this point because you’ve just come to expect the unexpected from this show. That seemed to be the M.O. of the night; there was no guessing what was coming next from Travis’ show, because how could you possibly predict a giant inflatable spaceman coming out of the stage, or a giant inflatable Travis Scott head to come out of the auxillary stage at the other side? At some point, the crowd just assumed something crazy was coming from Travis, and they were right about 100% of the time. Closer “Sicko Mode” whined it’s opening notes, and the crowd audibly replaced Drake’s opening lines. When the song fully kicked in, the structural integrity of the Fiserv Forum might have been tested with the amount of jumping happening throughout the arena.
If you wanted to summarize the state of hip hop, or really live music production in 2019, Travis Scott’s live show is the gold standard. With all of the flash of the biggest arena shows of any genre of music, and a production setup that feels like a small city in its own right, “Astroworld” provided a show that wasn’t even as much about the music as it was everything surrounding it, but it helped that Travis Scott had a smash hit-filled setlist to score it all.