On November 15th 2017, thousands of folks descended upon Worcester, Massachusetts to see Tyler The Creator. Folks sat outside the Palladium in the early hours of the day in hopes of getting a coveted barrier spot for the show. Those who arrived even a few hours before doors were greeted with a 5-7 minute walk to get to the end of the line.
Inside, the Palladium crowd was supremely antsy and I don’t blame them. Folks who would typically take a short walk from their apartment or a 30 minute T-ride to see a show this big boarded the commuter rail for an hour and a half ride to Worcheser.
‘Maybe if we chant ‘Tyler’ he’ll come out.’
‘I’m falling asleep.’
And other sighs of impatience were expressed during the usual hour wait between doors and the opener. For this crowd, time was precious; the commuter rail waits for no gig and taking a Lyft home wasn’t an option.
Around 8:20, Taco took the stage for his DJ set. The crowd was supremely hype from start to finish. ‘You don’t know the words!’ Taco said through a smile to an audience member who was less concerned about lyrical accuracy and more hype about the 10 second shout out from Taco. He spun for about 20-25 minutes and then quietly exited. As Taco left and the lights shifted, the cheers that were present during the DJ set were quickly replaced with the same murmurs of boredom and impatience that were shared at 7pm. As folks started pushing their way to the front in preparation for Tyler, melodramatic echoes of discomfort and pleas to convince friends to stick around, filled the venue:
‘I’m too young to die; I’m only 15.’
‘It’ll be worth it.’
‘It’ll calm down once Tyler is on.’
When the lights went down for Tyler, there was a group sigh of relief as the cloak covering a large cube on stage was lifted to reveal Tyler pacing the perimeter of the cube’s platform. The crowd ebbed back and forth as the late coming white bros clad in Golf gear attempted to push their way to the front. Those who earned their spot at the front held their ground and kept the crowd at bay as Tyler opened the set with ‘Where This Flower Blooms;’ Frank Ocean’s bomb-ass vocals floating through the Palladium. Throughout the 1st 10-15 minutes of the show, a number of people motioned for security to bring them out of the pit; the lack of air and constant jostling sent all pre-show pep talks out the window as folks were lifted out of the pit by security.
Tyler played through tunes from ‘Flower Boy’ and then sheepishly asked ‘…is it okay if I play some old ones?’ which was met with an earth-shattering ‘yes’ from fans new and old. To give you an idea of how much of himself he put into the show, at one point he had to sit down and take a puff of an inhaler. The audience gave the same relentless energy as Tyler from start to finish; the few pauses in pushing and shoving acted as the albuterol mist that kept audience members from exiting the pit early.
‘Why are we in Worcester? We should’ve gone to fucking Boston.’ Tyler said during a break. ‘Anyway y’all are the 2nd best show on this tour; I’m sorry- I had a lot of fun in Portland. Y’all are definitely better than the New York show I did.’ which was a statement that was met with a good 2 minutes of cheering as Tyler entered into the final few songs of the set. ‘Ain’t Got Time’ experienced some technological hiccups but Tyler’s charm and his rapport with Jasper made technology’s shortcomings feel like a party.
As the show ended with no encore, folks left the venue buzzing and satisfied with the evening. A number of folks descended upon what was left of the dwindling merch table and then headed to the Worchester station for the 11:20pm commuter rail back to Boston.
Entering the train station, the scene was supremely peaceful; folks putting their tour merch on over their clothes and posting that one poppin’ gig photo onto their social feeds. For a lot of folks, November 15th will forever be their ‘November.’