Travis Scott’s music is meant to be heard live.
This was true all the way back in the early 2000s, right at the start of his career after the releases of his first two projects Owl Pharaoh and Days Before Rodeo. The venues that he performed in during this time were much smaller than the arenas Scott currently sells out. As artist and audience cramped together, the raw energy and charged chaos that made Scott’s earlier music so memorable elevated the performance. Lack of space and weak sound was no match for “Upper Echelon”’s biting aggression or “Quintana”’s gritty fervor; trippy visuals didn’t really matter when you had Travis Scott himself right in front of you, one foot on the stage barrier, ready to nosedive into the middle of the pit. On stage, Scott turned his attention from the music itself in order to focus on the audience, and his skill in hyping up the crowd until they were nearly crawling over each other in their excitement. To attend a Travis Scott show was to fully and completely enter the rough and tumble mayhem of his world. No bystanders allowed.
Even as Scott rose in fame — his venues and performance visuals gaining intensity — he never lost touch with this original pandemonium. During his Birds Eye View tour for his 2016 album Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, he started shows by riding in on a giant gold bird, but still was as connected to the audience as he was during earlier days, when the only thing on stage was him. Jumping up and down, flying off the edge of the stage, matching the audience’s level of passion and adding to it — the performances themselves became more complex, but the underlying rage has remained the same.
The Wish You Were Here Tour, a currently ongoing circuit for Scott’s most recent album ASTROWORLD, is no different. Objectively, ASTROWORLD is Scott’s most popular project to date. Topping charts and certified platinum, the album has ensured Scott’s place as pop culture royalty — something that the Wish You Were Here tour has only made even more clear. Scott is selling out arenas across the country and, based on the coverage from the first leg of the tour, making sure he pulls out all the stops.
From openers that include Virgil Abloh and Sheck Wes to holographic visuals to building an entire working rollercoaster, Scott is guaranteeing that each and every one of his shows reflect the same carnival glitz and glamour that ASTROWORLD revolves around. And yet, behind all of these added details, all of these monumental performance props, the same drive that fueled Scott during the days when he only sold out basement shows still exists. New York’s Madison Square Garden or Houston’s Warehouse Live, it doesn’t matter — as an audience member, you will still be totally immersed in La Flame’s world, and all the anarchy that comes with it.
See Travis Scott’s upcoming Detroit show at the Little Caesars Arena on Dec. 5.