TRAVIS SCOTT with GUNNA and SHECK WES at Scotiabank Arena, Wednesday, November 21. Rating: NNNN
Travis Scott turned Scotiabank Arena into a full-fledged amusement park.
Growing up in Houston, the rapper spent her summers going to Six Flags AstroWorld, a sprawling, 57-acre amusement park that shut down in 2005. His third album AstroWorld was inspired by a dream of bringing that magic back to life.
He did that during his Toronto AstroWorld tour stop. After performing performance from 2018 rap sensations Sheck Wes, whose commanding stage was transformed into the only half-full arena into a party, and Gunna, who got so many ovations, you know, he was the headlining act, Scott suddenly materialized on one of the two stages that were set up in the arena.
Clad in simple pants and its merchandise – "a wish-to-wear" in the cursive over the words "staffer" – its unannounced appearance the empty waves. It took Travis all the three minutes to turn the ground into a mosh pit with its performance of stargazing. "And it is not a mosh pit if it is not no injuries / I got 'em stage divin' out the nosebleeds," he sang on a largely empty stage, -budget projector screens and flashing lights that have come to be expected from arena shows.
The bare-bones set-up provided nothing to hide behind. But as he performed his first few songs – ASTROWORLD – he was not in need of any help from the cranking the arena's energy up to 100. The high-octane crowd screamed as they tried to throw clothes and handmade signs over the rows of security guards that lined both stages.
Seamingly enjoyed the city's acceptance of her, Travis did it clear. He brought out the local rappers and the Belly to make him and even referenced shuttered nightclub the Hoxton before launching some of his most satisfying hits.
"I want to take it back to the Hoxton when the show was really small," he said before performing an a capella release of 3500 off Rodeo and fan favorite deep-cut Drugs You Should Try It Off Days Before Rodeo.
There was nothing but a mic set and a stream of blue lights illuminating the stage as he went into a capella for the ending of the god, his voice latching on the word "god" through a long range of notes that showcased his vocal abilities.
The second half of the concert amped up the production value. AstroWorld Insignia, including cartoon rocket ships, planets, rollercoasters, and a glowing blue map of Texas, with a larger than life mesh curtain dropped from the ceiling. There was also a life-rollercoaster that airlifted Travis across the stadium while performing the AstroWorld hits 5% TINT and Can not Say.
He finished the show alongside a gargantuan golden statue of his head – modeled after the AstroWorld album art by artist David LaChapelle – who grew up from the floor as he performed the viral sensation Sicko Mode. Drake was not there to perform his verses, but Travis did not miss a beat, rapping every word of Drake's lyrics without the Six God as fireworks and flames erupted from the stage.
Thousands of miles away from Houston, Travis brought the magic of AstroWorld back to life in Toronto.