October 12, 2023
It’s been nearly five years since Travis Scott has performed in Charlotte. The 32-year-old hip-hop star has faced backlash and vitriol following the Astroworld tragedy, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of his fans. Following the incident, Scott launched a new event safety initiative called Project HEAL. In late August, Scott announced his Utopia Tour Presents Circus Maximus would kick off on October 11 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Tickets to the tour quickly sold out nationwide, as resellers anticipated a high demand. However, ticket scalpers drastically miscalculated the clamor for the long-awaited return of La Flame, leading to select tickets going for just over $8 on opening day.
Despite the ticket controversy that ultimately led to the show being more affordable for fans, Scott captivated the crowd Wednesday night, reminding many why his heavily produced live performances are second to none in the hip-hop industry.
Opening for Scott with an 8:00 p.m. start was alternative rapper Teezo Touchdown. The Circus Maximus tour marks Teezo’s second time opening for an esteemed artist in Charlotte, with his first being for Tyler, the Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost tour in 2022.
Teezo’s opening set in Charlotte lasted only a baffling 18 minutes, as he teased his tracks with Tyler, the Creator “RUNITUP” and his Drake collab, “Amen.”
For the next hour, anticipation steadily grew throughout Spectrum Center, as the crowd’s murmurs began to rise. At 9:26 p.m. the lights dimmed, and the arena erupted. Loud screams and chants echoed as Scott began his walk from the locker room tunnel to the stage with his intro, “Greetings from Utopia before the show starts, open that sh*t up” looping over the loudspeakers. DJ and producer Chase B welcomed La Flame to the stage saying with enthusiasm: “Charlotte. For the first time on tour in 5 years, I’d like to welcome my brother, Travis Scott.”
Scott entered the stage donning a shoulder-padded black shirt and dark shades, as he and the crowd simultaneously started jumping to the beat of “HYAENA,” the intro song to his 2023 album, UTOPIA. The over-the-top production made an early appearance with pyrotechnics, a massive circular jumbotron, and beaming stage lights. After playing “THANK GOD,” Scott performed a raging rendition of his 2023 collaboration with Lil Uzi Vert, “Aye,” then slowed it down by transitioning to “sdp interlude” from his 2016 album, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight.
The floor shot up with flames with Scott positioned centerstage for the intoxicating “Praise God,” his feature on Kanye West’s album, Donda. The stage platform then lifted with spotlights shining down on Scott as he overlooked the crowd, sharing an intimate moment with his fans for “MY EYES.” Then, he jumped into one of his biggest hits, “BUTTERFLY EFFECT,” from 2018’s ASTROWORLD, with light beams, strobes, and flames simultaneously bursting from the stage. Scott used large head-shaped boulders in his intricate stage production, piercing the crowd with multi-colored lasers coming from the eyes of the prop. He continued with his classics “HIGHEST IN THE ROOM,” “Mamacita,” and “90210.”
Even with eye-popping production, mind-bending visuals, and a spectacular stage presence, Scott took time to address the Charlotte crowd. At one point, he told the audience, “When I was trying to go to college I came out here one time, I had one of the best times of my life. I told myself when I’m ready to go back on tour, the first place I have to come is right here in Charlotte.”
Scott decided to save the heavy-hitting songs for the tail end of his set. The near-capacity crowd erupted once more after hearing just the first note of his hit song “FE!N” featuring Playboi Carti. Scott fed off the crowd’s energy, ripping his shirt off and throwing it into the sea of fans on the floor. He then told DJ Chase B to run the track back. This time, the entire crowd jumped in unison as the chorus blared throughout the arena. To end his set, Scott played three classics back-to-back-to-back with “Antidote,” “SICKO MODE,” and “Goosebumps.” He finished the evening’s spectacle with “TELEKINESIS,” featuring SZA and Future on his latest album, Utopia.
Scott’s return to a North American stage was nothing short of electric. The rapper reminded his supporters and critics why he’s carved a stake as one of the great rap artists and performers of his generation.
Greetings From Utopia (Intro)
MODERN JAM (with Teezo Touchdown)
Aye (Lil Uzi Vert cover)
Praise God (Kanye West cover)
HIGHEST IN THE ROOM
I KNOW ?
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