Travis Scott electrifies sold-out crowd in Milwaukee for ‘ASTROWORLD’ tour
Travis Scott performed in Milwaukee to a sold-out crowd as part of the ASTROWORLD tour.Image By: photo courtesy of fiserv forum
Travis Scott has built a reputation as one of hip-hop’s definitive musicians today. While and have become memes, both are no joke: ASTROWORLD was one of the best hip-hop albums in 2018 and his recent tour, “ASTROWORLD-WISH YOU WERE HERE TOUR 2,” stopped in Milwaukee’s sold-out Fiserv Forum this past weekend to prove he is nothing less than an electrifying performer.
On Friday night, Scott performed a 32-song setlist that reached all corners of his career thus far. ASTROWORLD cuts made up 14 of those, with the whole album getting played save for three tracks. In addition, he performed five songs from his second album, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, and three more from his mainstream debut, Rodeo. The remaining 10 songs spanned long-hidden gems and feature verses on other artists’ tracks.
Scott exploded on stage with ASTROWORLD’s opening tracks “STARGAZING” and “CAROUSEL.” Scott’s main stage adorned a circular screen directly behind him and two smaller rectangular screens displayed higher up on each side, but to open the show, he surprisingly emerged from the B-stage on the other side of the general admission pit to fire, smoke and lasers.
As someone who was sitting directly behind the B-stage halfway up the first level, this was a real treat, and the rest of the audience enjoyed it just as much. The Fiserv Forum’s seating is very elevated, resulting in uninterrupted views all the way around, and Scott utilized his arena status to reach everyone. Just when I thought he couldn’t bring the energy any higher after his opening two songs, he strapped into a circular track and rode it all 360 degrees around. After he got off, guests got to do it themselves for almost half of the show.
In the latter half, projector sheets periodically ascended and descended to give those in seating bonus visuals and camera angles. Then, to the rocky instrumental of “Piss On Your Grave” toward the end of the show, a horizontal roller coaster track lowered from the ceiling as Scott rode and rapped with a guest right next to him.
While there was no live band in sight, the mixing of many of the songs was crisp and clean, particularly “Piss On Your Grave,” which sounded as live as Scott’s vocals. Against smoke machines fizzing and pyrotechnics booming, some songs took a moment for me to find the groove and decipher what was playing, but it was often worth the brief audio setback for the spectacular sensory overload.
As far as ASTROWORLD songs, “BUTTERFLY EFFECT” and “CAN’T SAY” were highlights to experience live, and “goosebumps” from BITTSM blew me away. I had wished to see a couple of other older cuts like “Oh My Dis Side” and “pick up the phone,” but Scott still catered to many of his longtime and dedicated fans with songs from his Days Before Rodeo and Owl Pharaoh mixtapes.
Sheck Wes was the sole opener of the night, performing a short set on the front platform with a rectangular screen behind him providing a little lighting in the dark Forum. Wes is in the beginning of his career, and his set reflected that, focusing largely on the hooks to songs from his debut album, Mudboy, like “Live Sheck Wes Die Sheck Wes” and “Kyrie.” As an opener, Wes was constrained by a smaller platform and less visual magic but didn’t have some of the live chops I expected. His flows are already basic (but often effective), yet he performed many of them a capella to end a song. This resulted in many incomplete vignettes that were part beat-hook breakdown and part disappointing verse. However, Wes stepped up to the challenge of performing his smash hit “Mo Bamba” to a crowd that wanted nothing more than to scream the lyrics back to him.
The ending of the night, though, was the real highlight of popular music: Even bigger than “Mo Bamba” in 2018 was Scott’s last song, “SICKO MODE.” The entire night led up to this, a song so popular it provided just a little solace to the Scott went all-out with his audience straight away from the distinct opening notes, through the hypnotic beat change and straight on until the very last snare hit at the end of the song.
Carl "CJ" Zabat is a music columnist for the Daily Cardinal. To read more of his work, click here.Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter