Hiii(gh) Power – The Climax – Kung Fu Kenny Edition

Welp. Here it is – the climax. You came back to hear about the actual show and I hope that in some small way, I am able to explain it.
So I know that DRAM has gotten pretty popular lately, but he hasn’t really been my cup of tea. Like, he isn’t bad by any means, he just has never been someone that I have been checking for.

What did I learn about DRAM?

1. His energy doesn’t translate onto an album – Alright so maybe I didn’t really like the dude going into this but what I surmised once his set was finished, was that until he starts to hone his craft a little more, he is going to be exponentially better live than he would be on record.
2. He stays rocking a big ass smile – Which is rare for rappers. I could see it shining from the stage without any aid of the jumbo-tron.
3. He dances around like my 13 year old gangly-limbed cousin – awkward but adorable, and somehow the moves don’t make any damn sense with the music. Endearing as hell, yo.
4. He managed to get a crowd that was still meandering in from the outside, to get up, turn up, and dance with him – an automatic win in my book
5. He uses absolutely ridiculous visuals –Visuals of bouncing boobs and twerking asses played on a constant loop, but what made them amazing was they were all drawn, cartoon animation –mostly done in the style of old school neon signs. Hella immature type shit, which of course means I fucking loved it. #iLikeBigButts #boobsareBAE

Oh and yes, he performed Broccoli. In case you were wondering.
Verdict: I would see him again live, but IDK if I would be willing to see JUST him alone. Not just yet.

So after DRAM — or as the bestie Sean reminds me, Big Baby DRAM — there was a decent intermission. I got up, stretched my legs, and thought I would attempt to go grab a hat. There was a baby pink dad hat that said ‘Ain’t Nobody Prayin’ that caught my eye… until I saw the line for merch was longer than the line was to get into Oracle. (Soooo Kendrick if you ever read this, feel free to send me one! I won’t be mad!)

I made it back to my seat as the intermission ended, and the lights lowered again. The audience members started shifting in their seats, anxious. Everything suddenly goes black and in a flash of light – there appears Travis Scott. In what felt like a complete and direct contrast to the set I had just seen before. Where DRAM was bright, colorful and sort of tongue-in-cheek, Travvy was like being able to watch my own acid trip. To be real, I think the visuals were basically what it looks like to be inside Scott’s head on a daily basis.
What did I learn about Travis Scott?
1. I thought this dude mumbled on record, but it is NOTHING compared to how much he mumbles in real life – yet somehow everyone in the audience new the words. Or else they mumbled along like they did, because how do you fuck up lyrics that are just sound effects?
2. This kid is one of the most legitimately turned up performers that I have seen in the last 5 years, and I have seen some pretty crazy shows – I don’t know if this kid every even took a breath, he was too busy jumping and screaming.
3. Travis Scott rides a fucking eagle – I mean a huge, mechanical, glowing-eyed, shrieking eagle that flew into the middle of the damn arena over the crowd
4. Not only did he ride the eagle he turned the fuck up on that eagle – the shit was crazy. I was almost convinced that I was going to watch Travis Scott fall to his death in Oakland, that’s how close he kept getting to his doom.
5. ‘Through the Late Night’ is one of the most epic things to see him perform live. Absolutely fucking worth it.
Verdict: My throat hurts from screaming. This was amazing. Ten of ten would recommend this to a friend.

As quickly as it started, it ended, and Travis walked off stage. Final intermission.

At this point I have decided that I will not move from my seat. My paranoid ass began to imagine all of these worst-case scenarios of me tumbling down the steep stairs located directly to the right of my seat. I could see the headlines now, and they were not cute. Nope, I sure as hell wasn’t going out like that. I kept put.

After what felt like forever, but was probably about 25 minutes, the lights began to dim. An eerie silence fell over what was originally a boisterous crowd, as 19,596 people collectively felt their breath catch in their chests. In the silence of the moment, a huge black flag proclaiming DAMN in bright red lettering, unfurled in front of the stage. As the seconds ticked past the silence that had fallen over the crowd, broke. One after the other, voices started to rise up to the rafters, and the volume increased with each minute. The noise had nowhere to travel once it hit the roof, so it expanded outward. The arena began filling with the soundwaves the way a bathtub fills with water, and for a brief moment it felt almost hard to breathe. In hindsight, that may have been because I was screaming so long I forgot to inhale.

Just when I thought I would go hoarse, the jumbo-tron flickered, and sparked to life. A short film began to play, no longer than five minutes in length. But I bet you if you ask someone at that show what the movie was about, they couldn’t tell you. We were too busy screaming as he arrived on stage in a puff of smoke and dressed in white.


So you might hate me and trust me when I say that I am sorry. I have spent nearly two weeks trying to process everything that happened from that point forward. The showmanship. The visuals. The sheer force of presence that Kendrick embodies. There are SO many things I want to tell you.

I just can’t.

There are certain things in life that are meant just for you. Certain moments. Certain experiences. Certain times that are unequivocally yours, and putting words to those moments means having to disturb the memories that you purposefully tucked away in the deepest crevices of your mind to ensure preservation. That was Kendrick for me.

I won’t pretend that the past few days have been easy for most of us. Murder, racism and rage has dominated our media cycles, perpetually feeding us the images that burn into your psyche. Anger is seeping from the pores of society, and it is hard to find a moment of hope amidst the chaos. With all that was going on, it made finishing this article even harder – and my deadline disintegrated under the weight of the surrounding world. I kept putting it off, pushing it out, making excuses. I decided I was just going to leave it as a one part article, fuck it.

Frustration won out.

Returning back to my notebook, and my unfinished thoughts, I began to scroll through the video I had taken of that night. I pressed play on a random one, and was met with a cacophony of sound as nearly 20k people sang:

‘We gon be alright! Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon be alright…’

I hear you Kendrick.

Olivia Monahan
Resident Stoner
IG — @thelivstyler



Olivia Monahan

August 17th, 2017

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