Tyler the Creator has asthma.
OK, I’m making that up, but the rapper (and Odd Future point man) did seem out of breath at points during last night’s show at the Rainbow Ballroom, leaning against lighting rig between songs.
And, I did see him pull an inhaler out of his pocket and take a quick puff midway through the hour-long set.
On the other hand, any breathlessness could be attributed to Tyler’s tendency to bounce and thrash around the stage with a frenetic energy usually reserved for hardcore punkers (that’s my easy reference point, anyway).
The on-stage energy reverberated throughout the capacity crowd, which amassed on the dance floor an hour and a half before Tyler even took the stage and stayed insanely active (bouncing, crowd surfing, raising collective hands and middle fingers into the air) close to three hours later.
Tyler himself seemed a little shocked by the response, at first trashing Fresno (for all its meth smoking) and wondering aloud why he agreed to play in here first place, then apologizing for the prejudice.
“Y’all turnt,” he said.
While some shows (Justin Bieber for example) are all about the on-stage spectacle, a Tyler the Creator show seems to be as much about what’s happening out in the crowd. The audience is the show. This is about getting swept in the crush of the crowd against the barricade and still bouncing around until you feel like you’re going to vomit or die and then getting pulled to safety by security (like the girl in front of me) and still having the energy to rap along to every. single. word. of every song.
Tyler kept asking the crowd: “Are you sweating yet?”
If you weren’t, you probably weren’t really enjoying the show.
▪ Even if you weren’t out on the dance floor, you were sweating. It was hot inside the Rainbow Ballroom.
▪ From my vantage point in the 21-plus section of the room, I was able to simultaneously watch the action on the hundreds of cell phones raised up recording the show. Maybe I’m old, but it’s a phenomenon I haven’t gotten used to.
▪ Go ahead and knock downtown living, but I walked around the corner to get home from the show.