It has been a long time between drinks at an Australian A$AP Rocky show, with the NYC rapper staying firmly in the Northern hemisphere since his last tour in 2013, so it was pretty safe to say that anticipation levels were increasing as fans’ patience was doing the opposite. Then, in 2015 he released AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP, and had fans thinking that exact sentiment; “At long last, A$AP might return.” He held out for a while, but towards the end of that year he came through as he always does – A$AP Rocky was returning to Australia.
Considering he released one of the best albums of the year last year, it was hardly surprising that the shows sold out pretty quickly indeed, and it was even less surprising that the crowd at his Brisbane leg were getting very excited indeed as the time ticked by until Pretty Flacko took to the stage. Supporting the show was up-and-comer Raury, who practically exploded onto the scene last year as a fully-fledged star with his debut album All We Need, and has been on the up and up ever since. He played his explosive live set to an already packed room, the crowd absolutely buzzing and screaming back the lyrics of his final songs. A particular highlight was the borderline-evangelical Crystal Express towards the end of the set; Raury running back and forth across the stage as the crowd boogied along to the rumbling rhythm section that lasted through to his finale, Devil’s Whisper. Having caught the then-newcomer at Laneway last year, it was awesome to see just how far he has come since then when he already had an impressive catalogue and live show. Even bigger things are on their way for this guy!
After Raury was piggy-backed off stage by a security guard that looked like Action Bronson, there was nothing to do but wait for the main event. And wait we did. Over an hour went by and there was still no sign of A$AP Rocky, and the crowd was beginning to get restless. Finally, after many a chant of “AAAASSSAAAAPPPPP!” the sinister synth sounds of Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 echoed throughout the room, and he was finally there. Any frustrations that were held by the audience up until that point were instantly forgotten, as A$AP Rocky blew the proverbial roof off Eatons Hill Hotel.
Hit after hit after hit, Flacko held absolutely nothing back as he tore through his back catalogue, performing an exception mix of all three of his albums. From the seductive L$D, the fucking banger that is M’$, even Electric Body in all its devotion to the female physique, Rocky’s new songs slotted perfectly into his existing set list that was already banger heavy with the likes of Goldie and Wild For The Night among others. There was even room for an A$AP Yams tribute, with the crowd getting one of the first ever performances of Yamborghini High.
Sweaty, heaving, and frenzied by the time he was finished, the crowd was picking up all that A$AP was putting down, and giving it right back to him. When Rocky announced he didn’t feel safe to dance on stage anymore because the stage was wet with condensation from how hot and sweaty the room was, it was clear just how much fun everyone was having – A$AP Rocky included. Wrapping things up with a raucous, totally insane moshpit for Wild For The Night, it felt almost hard to believe that he was done, but it was probably a good thing considering how depleted all our bodies were after such an action-packed hour of his finest hits. Coming back on stage to throw merch into the crowd, it was this moment that provided the real highlight for me. Here was one of the biggest hip-hop stars of today, having just finished an incredible set and probably shaking with the adrenalin that would surely come from such a performance, taking time to interact with the lucky fans who had made it all the way to the front. No matter how big he gets, or how big his ego may seem, it’s insights like this that show the human side to the impossibly beautiful man that is A$AP Rocky, and the reason he has a cult-like following of millions behind him. A$AP FOREVER!
Image: Live Nation