Concluding his 16-date European tour on Thursday 14th March, Post Malone administered a powerful set to a sold out O2 arena, homing 20,000 fans for an evening which can only be described as euphoric, unforgettable and liberating.
It was 6:30pm and irrespective of the cold and icy weather, queues were brimming with admirers and music enthusiasts. After going through security and passing the merchandise, food and drink stalls, opening door 112 at O2 Arena can only be described as walking into a new realm.
Already half full by 6:45 pm, fans continued to pour in and took their seats with the continuous flow ensuring the venue had reached its capacity by 7:15 pm. After listening to crowd noise for the next 45 minutes and seeing the incongruous demonstration of what happens when intoxication is mixed with impatience, the lights in the arena suddenly go off and in return, the atmosphere is quickly flooded with higher frequencies.
Accompanying the hype, tones of blue lit the stage and American DJ, DJ E Nice, started the set by spinning hits from Travis Scott to old school anthems by LL Cool J. The crowd that came together for Post Malone proved to be an animated fusion of party girls, goths, Hip Hop aficionados, overwhelmed teens and privately educated school students. The scenery bared resemblance to a mammoth party with alcohol and vape smoke dressing the air.
Finishing his set by 8 pm, DJ E Nice introduced the first support act for the evening. Up-and-coming Orlando rapper, Tyla Yaweh, impressively upped the crowd's zeal despite being completely unknown to many in the audience when he performed a few of his songs, the most popular song being ‘She Bad’ and ‘Gemini’. Tylah proved a hit when he blazed across the stage moonwalking and spinning, whilst still staying in key with his melodic numbers.
The second act of the evening was Californian rapper/producer Roddy Ricch, who shared sincere words about his time touring in the UK before vivifying the masses with hits including ‘Every Season’, ‘Down Below’ and ‘Die Young’. Before exiting the stage Roddy gave a sentimental shout out to 18-year-old entrepreneur Benjamin Kickz and left the stage expressing his gratitude to Post Malone for bringing him out for the last leg of his tour.
With Post still not in sight and the arena lights on full blast, the audience became restless as they watched scaffolding and lighting equipment being secured by the stage crew for the best part of 45 minutes. At long last the lights dimmed down, the black screen which had been covering the majority of the stage slowly lifted, allowing glimpses of smoke and orange tincture to seep through. Sporting a light blue two-piece decorated with tattoo art style images, Post Malone emerged and roars resonated throughout the arena.
Coming out and introducing himself to the crowd by his government name, Austin, he affirmed his warmth and appreciation to everyone for making it down for the last day of his tour in Europe. The first track he performed was haunting and catchy hit ‘Too Young’ followed by ‘Better Now’, with the backdrop displaying an up-close-and-personal Polaroid style focus of his face throughout both songs.
Every track came chaperoned with detail from the stage lighting to the smoke, fire and backdrop effects. Maintaining a dream like state, tracks ‘Candy Paint’, ‘Wow’ ‘Blame It On Me’ and ‘I Fall Apart’ had the arena gripped. By his 10th song of the evening, Post Malone mentioned that the next track was about when he used to smoke a lot of Marijuana but doesn't anymore, and in his own way of honouring what the song stands for he lit up a cigarette on stage and invited everyone in the crowd to do the same. Despite tight security, liberated teens and listeners did just that and there were orange tips visible on most aisles of the arena which were swiftly extinguished by arena staff.
‘Stay’ was the next song in line and one of the most momentous displays of the evening with Post Malone advising anyone that needed to go for a toilet break to do so now as the song was slow and, in his words, "the boring part." Giving a very personable performance sitting on a stool at the edge of the stage singing and playing his guitar, Post Malone was categorically in his element. Closing the evening on a high were the sounds of the song which kick-started his career, ‘White Iverson’ followed by ‘Sunflower’, which he created for the new Spiderman movie, and ‘Rockstar’.
The night consisted of mosh pits, a hapless altercation, a party atmosphere but, more importantly, an effortless, outstanding and extraordinary exhibition of musical genius. With his signature rasp, he belted every song as if it were the last time he would ever sing and dominated the whole arena by just being unapologetically himself. No lavish props or furnishings were needed, simply just the being Austin Richard Post was enough to entertain the sold-out O2 arena.
IMAGE CREDIT: Chloe Hashemi