Tyler, The Creator @ The Observatory OC

The Observatory Orange County capped off 2017 with a stacked bill last Saturday night in Santa Ana, featuring a headline performance by Tyler, The Creator and opening sets by breakout boy band BROCKHAMPTON, The Internet’s Steve Lacy, and indie up and comers Clairo and Bane’s World. I caught the show and have been eager to share my experience, especially since it has been a couple months since my last concert write up. Here’s a recap.

I have written multiple times before on this website that I never considered myself a big Tyler, The Creator fan, but that all changed after the release of his latest album Flower Boy. Given how much I love a lot of the songs on that record, and add on top of that Tyler’s reputation for being a great performer, I was really anticipating this being a solid show.

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Unfortunately, I hit some traffic and wasn’t able to catch Bane’s World, but Taco had a cool DJ set and Steve Lacy’s slick guitar work was a joy to hear live. The night’s energy spiked once BROCKHAMPTON hit the stage. Sporting their trademark orange jumpsuits, the newly famous boy band ignited multiple mosh pits, reciting through bangers from each of their three 2017 releases, including “BOOGIE”, “STAR” and “GOLD”.

Moments later, Tyler took the stage as fans cheered and grooved to the fresh parade of his opening song, “Where This Flower Blooms”. After a smooth entrance, he confidently busted out a performance of “ZIPLOC”, a freestyle to Jay-Z’s “4:44” – a track that ends on a prideful note, with the line “I know I got the best album out, preach.” I marveled at Tyler’s delivery and stage presence, something he has always excelled at, and now he has the music to back it up.

The show reached early highs with “Boredom” and “911”; there is something so fulfilling about thousands of people smiling, singing and waving their beers in the air in unison. After a detour through old trunk knockers, such as “Smuckers” and “48”, the Flower Boy celebration continued with some of the album’s back end jams (“November” and “Glitter”).

Anticipation for a guest appearance peaked when smoke filled the stage area just before A$AP Rocky’s verse on “Who Dat Boy”, but the only man left standing once the air cleared was the flower boy himself. In a way, this moment was a larger metaphor for the lasting effect that Tyler’s last album has had on all his peers since its release last summer. Flower Boy is a culmination of different sounds and outstanding guest performances, but ultimately it was his own artistic vision that manifested such a great piece of art.

The crowd got riled up once more for “See You Again”, a beautiful song that was a fitting conclusion to a great performance from one of hip-hop’s most adamant characters. Tyler, The Creator is essentially a cult figure in modern music, but regardless if you are an old or new fan of his, there is no question that Flower Boy is his best work. It feels good to see so many people not only acknowledging that, but reveling in it, including Tyler.

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