Columbus was the newest home for Astroworld as Travis Scott and crew brought all of the energy and spectacle of an amusement park into the Jerome Schottenstein Center this past weekend. While there was plenty of excitement and awe, there was also long, monotonous waiting times, kind of like a real amusement park. This also was the shortest concert I have ever been to as far as performance time is concerned. That being said, it was still a memorable one and brought a production value that trumps any of the other concerts I’ve been to.
Sheck Wes or Mo Bamba?
I wish I could say I was kidding when I didn’t know the name of the opener for this concert until experiencing his set. Was his name Mo Bamba or Sheck Wes and the song name is Mo Bamba? Maybe this is just blatantly exposing me to how uncultured I am, but hey, now I know: the artist goes by the name of Young Sheck Wes, and he’s trying to get “really really rich.” Sheck Wes performed many of his songs, but I don’t think anyone really cared for most of them. I remember at one point it seemed like the entire arena was quiet besides Sheck Wes on stage performing. Eventually, we got to “Mo Bamba,” though, and The Schott came alive.
It wouldn’t be a true amusement park experience without obnoxiously long wait times before those few exhilarating moments of thrill. Luckily for us, Travis Scott and his team delivered on that front by having us wait an hour between the end of Sheck Wes’ set and the beginning of Travis Scott’s set. Much like standing in line at Cedar Point or King’s Island without a Fast Pass, this part of the Astroworld experience seemed unending and was extremely boring. Maybe I am spoiled by the last few concerts I went to who had DJ sets in between performances (or a fight break out in the crowd when I went to see Post Malone this past summer), but this wait had nothing going on. I remember being so bored I decided to catch up on unanswered emails whilst waiting for Travis to come out. Now that I think about it, when I was in the middle of my first email, the lights dimmed, and the main set for the night began…
Spectacle and Awe- Part 1
The set started with the track “STARGAZING,” one of my personal favorites from his Astroworld album, and there was flashing lights and smoke and Travis Scott came with a lot of energy. After the “STARGAZING” intro, Scott welcomed the crowd and did a few snippets from songs he is featured in, then jumped straight into some Astroworld tracks. From then on he bounced between mainly Astroworld tracks and some tracks from his older albums, “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” as well as “Rodeo” and even his original mixtapes. All throughout this, there were impressive light displays, flames coming up from the stage, and a mini loop of a coaster that fans in the pit were being brought up into one by one to experience the show from a view like no other. That was pretty much how the first half of his set went.
Spectacle and Awe- Part 2
The stage was a dual stage kind of deal for this show, with Scott starting his set at the east end and ending at the west end of the stadium. So, about halfway through, this slow interlude plays and Scott disappears into a trap door on the east stage and then reappears at the west end, followed by playing his hit song “BUTTERFLY EFFECT.” This was one of my favorite parts of the entire concert, but things were just getting started for this second half of the main set. Scott performed more hits from his three major albums, did a nice tribute to his feature on SZA’s Love Galore track, with him singing in front of a gigantic wing graphic, making him appear to be some sort of mystical butterfly angel creature.
Later on in the set, this transparent screen came down and went the width of the venue from my view, and on it played graphics for a number of songs, starting with tribute pieces to Houston and his home state of Texas during the song “R.I.P. SCREW,” a song that is dedicated to a famous Houston DJ. Another symbolic set piece from this is when the screen displayed a live feed of Travis performing his track “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD.” The screen showed a cross on Scott’s chest as he was singing the Astroworld single.
As the screens rolled up, they were replaced by a roller coaster track coming down, cart and all, that stretched across the Schottenstein Center. One lucky fan got into the coaster with Scott and rode with him as he performed “CAN’T SAY” while flying above the entire general admission pit. Another fan rode the coaster solo as Scott performed “Goosebumps,” a song that he dedicated to the Columbus crowd for that night. This was one of my favorite songs from the set and had impressive pyros and lights to look at as well as the coaster display.
The concert ended with “SICKO MODE,” and the Houston rapper took a moment to take it all in as the Drake intro to the song played out. When the beat dropped, the crowd, Scott, and the venue went crazy with lights, fire displays, and actual fireworks going off as all recited the lyrics to Travis Scott’s most famous hit song. As the song ended, the rapper thanked the crowd, and that was it. The Astroworld tour was over.
Was Astroworld Worth it?
I went into this concert with really high expectations, seeing clips from some previous shows and being a big fan of Travis Scott. I left a little disappointed, though. Maybe it was the overpriced merchandise I bought or the fact that he cut many of songs off after what felt like the intro chorus, but I thought the show was going to last longer. He skipped out on performing “Pick Up the Phone” as well, which is one of his biggest songs and was performed by Young Thug earlier this year as an opening act for J. Cole. The Astroworld experience was a lot like an actual amusement park: lots of excitement, lots of waiting, a few moments of thrill, and then the empty feeling you have when it’s all over.