Tyler, the Creator brings the ‘Igor’ experience to Agganis Arena

Tyler, The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt perform at the Pomona Fox Theater in 2013. via Wikimedia Commons

Considered by some music publications and online music critics as one of the best albums of 2019 so far, “Igor” (2019) served as a musical summer highlight for many Tyler, the Creator fans. “Igor” is Tyler’s fifth studio album, and it certainly stands out from the rest of his discography. Besides pushing the boundaries of hip-hop, the album also captures the many emotions that result from love and from heartbreak. “Igor” received great commercial success, so it only makes sense that Tyler has gone on tour to give his fans the full “Igor” experience. To help, he brought two very impressive opening acts.

GoldLink was the first. As the DC rapper took the stage, he began performing songs from his latest project, “Diaspora.” As songs like “Joke Ting” (feat. Ari PenSmith) and “Maniac” played, the stadium pounded with energy and excitement. GoldLink’s performance of “Pray Everyday (Survivor’s Guilt)” from his album “At What Cost” (2017) surpassed many expectations that one may expect of a live version of the song.  

GoldLink was about to perform his final song of the set when he informed the crowd of something he was told. Before the song began, GoldLink told the crowd, “So the staff don’t want me to throw water at you guys from the stage.” GoldLink gave a water bottle to a fan in the front, saying, “So here, take this, and when the beat drops, throw that water up in the air, let’s go!” Then, GoldLink’s hit song “Crew” (feat. Brent Faiyaz & Shy Glizzy) started playing, which was greeted with an uproar of cheering. As Brent Faiyaz’s chorus started, everyone in general admission got rained on (to varying degrees) and upped the energy by jumping around and shouting along to the lyrics.

GoldLink thanked the crowd for their time, and the crowd then waited anxiously for the next opening act: Jaden. Jaden Smith (who dropped the last name in a recent change of stage name) tagged along Tyler’s tour to help promote his new album “Erys” .  His set began with a visual of him lying down on his pink Lamborghini, doors open, in the middle of a barren road. In the background played “P,” which features terrific vocals from Willow (Smith, his sister). The song is part of a four-song epic that kicks off “Erys” (the songs are titled “P”, “I”, “N” and “K”). When the song transitioned into “I,” pink and orange lights came on, and Jaden took the stage. Then the beat dropped, and the mosh pit closed in to create a pile of jumping fans.

The remainder of Jaden’s set included more songs off of “Erys,” including “Summertime in Paris” (feat. Willow) and “Mission” (feat. Trinidad James). Needless to say, the crowd was satisfied. Jaden also stopped to talk before performing his final song, this time with a story. 

“It’s funny because the way I actually met Tyler for the first time was at an Odd Future show backstage, and Taco [an Odd Future Member] saw me and said, ‘Yo, Jasper, Ty  [Jasper Dolphin and Tyler, the Creator, also Odd Future members]! It’s Jaden Smith! Let’s go jump his ass!'” he explained. 

He then said that they’re all on good terms now, and praising Tyler, said, “Now this last song, the whole thing, it just reminds me of Tyler.”  Arguably Jaden’s most powerful single, “Icon,” closed out the set. 

Tyler’s set began with an element that few live shows at large venues like the Agganis Arena typically include: spotlights. Clad in a blonde bowl cut wig and blue suit, Tyler took the stage as soon as the drums kicked in on “Igor’s Theme.” Then, he stood still for almost two minutes as the song played. The vocals came in, along with another lead and bass synth, which was the cue for the stage lights to become strobe lights and for Tyler to begin dancing around the stage in wild fashion. Tyler’s stage presence was incredible making more mellow songs like “GONE, GONE / THANK YOU”  similar in energetic effect to the “Flower Boy” (2017) banger “Who Dat Boy” (feat. A$AP Rocky).  

Nevertheless, there were still standout moments during his set. To start, nearly every song had a different backdrop, and between songs, curtains would continue to fall behind him. Tyler began the song “EARFQUAKE” by sitting down at a piano to play the song’s melody, which fans sang along to. The aforementioned “Who Dat Boy” had an excellent partner: pyrotechnics. The first beat drop was met with explosions, while the end of the song was performed alongside constantly shooting flames. Tyler also entertained the crowd with his goofy charm; when Tyler threw a water bottle to a fan, he instructed with a smile to “share, you d—!”

To conclude his set, Tyler played the outro song “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” on a raised platform on stage. As he concluded, the crowd was still cheering as he left the stage. Overall, performing “Igor” was just as riveting and entertaining as any other Tyler show, but elements of his music and performance made the whole experience much more meaningful and impactful. “Igor,” and its supporting tour, will be remembered by fans for many years to come.


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