I didn’t know if I wanted to cry from happiness or pain.
After many years of waiting, I finally got to see my dad, Tyler the Creator, perform at Chicago’s 2018 Lollapalooza. This was a major moment in my life. I was basically raised by this guy. This was my first time going to see him after following him for the past three or four years. It was 50% of the reason I got a ticket for Friday at Lollapalooza. So obviously I was excited.
I knew prior to the set what to expect the crowd to be like. I don’t mean like their style or anything (but if you wanted to know it was a lot of clothes resembling the “checkerboard racing sunflower trendy aesthetic.”yea ik ew lol.) But, I mean that I knew it was going to get rowdy. I’ve probably seen every Tyler concert video on YouTube ranging from 2011-2018. So, I guess you can say I was pretty informed going into it.
My friend wanted to go see Bebe Rexha at the stage next to the one Tyler was playing at next. Originally, I was going to watch Bebe with her. But, once we reached the middle of the two sets, I saw that there were hardly any people camping for Tyler and I wanted to be as close to the stage as possible. Since I didn’t care to see Bebe’s set, I made the quick decision to split from my friend and wait an hour and a half till Tyler’s show. Another friend from my Lolla group came to camp with me.
I think the only regret for me during that wait was that I dumped the only water I had in the grass the set before. I wasn’t planning on camping for Tyler and I didn’t feeling like holding onto the can so I just poured it all out and smushed the can in my back pocket so I could refill it later. Biggest mistake of my life. By the time we walked to the stage, other people were getting the same idea as us: to get to the barricade. We were all skin to skin with the strangers around us. I wasn’t even standing on my own. I was being propped up by the girl behind me.
I guess a pro to being so close to everyone was that we ended up meeting new people whether we wanted to or not. My friend and I ended up befriending two girls in front of us. I believe they drove from either Michigan or Indiana for all four days of Lolla. They told us this crowd wasn’t as bad as when they camped out for Travis Scott the night before. They felt even more smushed there and I believed them. I mean I saw the livestream. It was wild.
It was very hot. My friend even contemplated leaving because she was so dehydrated and felt light-headed. But we had waited so long already that it wasn’t worth it. It was a blessing when a slight gust of wind blew past us. Everyone else was boiling and dying of thirst too. Someone even started a communal water bottle that everyone passed around. It didn’t last for long though. Some kid got the idea to urinate in the bottle and start spraying the crowd (or that’s what people were saying it was…) The two girls we just met and couple of guys near us all decided to just sit down among everyone else. That also didn’t last long because by us sitting down, we were blocking people behind us from moving forward. They were so frustrated with us that they poured their water on us to get us to get up. We didn’t abide by their demands at first because it was actually refreshing. But, it started to get old fast.
An hour in, fans were getting antsy and the security at the barricades ran out of water bottles to relieve the crowd with. It was legit like we were animals. I started to see lights flashing on stage. I wasn’t at barricade, but I was close enough to see what was going on. They were getting ready to start. In the last 30 minutes till starting time, there were multiple false alarms of people thinking Tyler was coming out. And all those times it was because some kid started screaming and clapping whenever the blimp with the Trojan ad came floating over us.
It was any second now till Tyler was to come out. Everyone was preparing by chanting his name. This one kid was so eager that he asked another boy next to me to rip the sleeves off his shirt. When someone asked him why he did that, he responded that it was a “fashion statement.”
Finally, Tyler comes out to “Where this Flower Blooms.” You would think the crowd would be fairly mild, considering it’s one of Tyler’s calmer songs, but it was the complete opposite. Before I knew it, I was competing with the crowd to keep my head up to breathe while attempting to mouth every lyric of the song.
After a few more songs, I heard the fatal keys.
It was “Who Dat Boy.”
I immediately knew I needed to get the hell out of there. I immediately just turned around and started yelling at the people behind me to push me back further. Keep in mind, I’m like the smallest person up front. I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I was bound to get stomped on. As the people behind me tried moving me back, Tyler stops the music. At first I was relieved because I thought he was trying to calm down the mosh pits. But, no. The man, Tyler himself, instructed everyone to instead of making several mosh pits, just make one BIG one in the middle. Everyone started clearing the area to form the pit. And as I gazed around, I noticed I was in the center of it. The music turns back on. I spent all that time to get closer to the barricade to now wishing I was all the way back. But it was too late. The beat dropped and I was pulled by my tank top straps into the pit. I watched as people tried leaving the crowd in tears. I’m not joking. People were scared. After the song, my shirt was all stretched out and I had someone’s blood smeared on my arm. But, hey, it makes a good story.
Even though I already had watched him perform the same setlist an infinite amount of times on YouTube, just seeing it live was more amazing. Sure, I wish that he played more songs from his previous works, but the fact that he at least played “Deathcamp” was awesome. I may have walked out of that set dehydrated, bloody, and possibly drenched in urine, but it was one of the best sets I’ve ever attended.
© 2018 Wisner