The only venue you’d expect to see an act like Tyler, the Creator performing in Pittsburgh is Stage AE. And the only rapper that wouldn’t even think about the title of the concert hall until five songs through is the notorious “Odd Future” frontman.
“What the f***, this is an American Eagle Place?” he said. “Who else didn’t know that?”
The 26-year-old rapper and musician brought his trademark irreverent humor and love for his fans to Stage AE Tuesday night, but with an added element of maturity coming off his latest album, “Flower Boy.” Vince Staples and DJ Taco opened the night for him.
The stage crew took about 30 minutes to set the stage for Tyler, the Creator’s performance — but the wait was completely worth it. The stage dramatically went black at 10 p.m. before the lights came back on to reveal a wilderness-themed set complete with trees, rocks and bushes.
Tyler was perched on top of one of the trees in a completely neon green outfit with his back turned to the crowd, wearing his recognizable Golf Wang hat, a Golf Wang neon green safety vest with an angel on the back, a Vince Staples T-shirt and some neon green shorts.
He started off his set with “Where This Flower Blooms,” a song that began calmly before he turned the volume and tempo up enough to incite the audience into a full-on mosh pit as soon as the beat dropped.
Most of the set list contained songs from his recent album “Flower Boy,” such as “911 / Mr. Lonely.”
The most notable moment from those performances was Tyler’s repeated phrase, “chirp, chirp,” in “911 / Mr. Lonely,” despite it being Frank Ocean’s part of the song. Other members of Odd Future joined in, singing along to the chorus line, “I can’t even lie, I’ve been lonely as f***.” Later on in the middle half of the show, he performed some of his older songs, such as “IFHY” and “Yonkers” — a tribute to the longtime fans in the audience.
The audience’s energy peaked during Tyler’s act with his performance of “Tamale.” The crowd started moving around ballistically — from the middle of the mosh pit, it was exciting to see several trampled people with big smiles plastered on their faces.
Watching Tyler’s chaos-inducing performance, it’s obvious that the main difference between Staples’ and Tyler’s performances was their level of audience interaction.
Staples gave the audience more of a visual experience rather than an interactive one. Playing different clips from the same news show about flooding in California, it’s as if he wanted to intimidate his audience. The crowd didn’t seem to even consider moshing to Staples’ distinctly alternative rap music.
Dressed in an all-black outfit along with a bulletproof vest — a look that has been popping up more recently amongst rappers — he continued his set with songs like “Homage,” “Prima Donna,” “Big Fish” and “Norf Norf.” As he walked off the stage, the audience finished singing “Yeah Right,” his last song of the night.
Tyler closed his performance with “See You Again.” In a very Tyler way, he said a brief thank you and promptly told the audience to leave. He shooed people toward the exit before scurrying off stage unceremoniously.
In the beginning of the show, Tyler seemed to be going along with his usual goofy, careless antics — but as the show progressed, he seemed to bathe in his fans’ appreciation for him. In exchange, he gave a performance with much more emotion than expected from the young performer.
His performance lived up to the expectations of such a complex, daring and incredible album, and his Pittsburgh show in particular gave fans a glimpse of the goofy character they’ve loved throughout the years.