An eclectic mix of artists and musical styles came to Columbus’s Schottenstein Center for Tyler, the Creator’s “Call Me If You Get Lost” stadium tour on Sunday, Feb. 27. It was the first concert I’ve attended in 2022 and one I was particularly excited about.
I’ve been closely following Tyler since the release of his 2017 album “Flower Boy” and have become a huge fan of his in the years since. With 2019’s “IGOR” being one of my personal favorite albums and last year’s tour-namesake album being my second favorite album of the year.
The lineup also featured bilingual pop singer Kali Uchis, rapper and California native Vince Staples and up-and-coming genre-bender Teezo Touchdown, all artists I was at least somewhat familiar with before the show.
I also began listening to Staples and Uchis around 2017, and have a huge amount of respect for both artists. Touchdown was the artist I knew the least, but I had been impressed with his appearance on Tyler’s “RUNITUP” and was looking forward to seeing what he might offer.
Two stages were utilized across the show; a large main stage with multiple levels of digital screens and a smaller stage a few hundred feet in front with a path leading between that separated the general admission pit into two sections.
The show kicked off promptly at 7:30 p.m. with a game-show style intro bringing out Touchdown to the tune of the crowd chanting “Get the mid off the streets.”
In front of a set reminiscent of a construction site, Touchdown moved through a handful of singles that spanned multiple genres, from hip-hop to alternative R&B to an acoustic ballad. Nothing that Touchdown performed stuck with me in the same way as later artists, but I still couldn’t help but get swept up in his energy and unique presentation.
A quick break saw the initial set torn down as Staples took to the smaller stage. In contrast to the other artists, Staples used no external elements, letting his music and performance speak for itself.
Staples mainly focused on tracks from his fantastic 2021 self-titled album, but he also threw in some fan-favorites and older cuts. Songs like “Big Fish” from 2017’s “Big Fish Theory” and “FUN!” from 2018’s “FM!” mixed in well with newer tracks like “MHM,” “THE SHINING” and the recently released single “MAGIC.”
There were also moments where the energy was lowered for more somber and introspective moments like “SUNDOWN TOWN” and “TAKE ME HOME,” which was entirely performed by Staples sitting down. These were some of my personal favorites during the show, allowing for another side of the typically braggadocious rapper to shine through.
Still, Staples made sure to end with one of his most aggressive and well-known songs “Norf Norf,” closing out a surprisingly intimate set with bombast. While there were some additional songs I was hoping to hear, Staples definitely impressed with what he did bring.
Another change in scenery and a transition back to the main stage brought out Uchis, whose music I’ve always enjoyed despite not knowing too much of it very well. I mostly stood back and vibed along to Uchis’s blend of pop, R&B and latin music.
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Uchis moved fluidly throughout her discography, with seamless transitions that showcased her versatility. Despite how tonally distinct songs like “10%,” “Loner” and “fue mejor” are from one another, they ended up sounding great lined up next to each other and reminded me of how much I need to dive deeper into her work.
Much of Uchis’s performance was physical, with plenty of interactions with the backup dancers and intensely suggestive body motions complimenting the mostly sexual nature of the lyrics in songs like “Drugs N Hella Melodies” and the remix of Amaarae’s TikTok sensation “SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY.” This provided an engrossing stage show to watch even when I wasn’t familiar with the material being performed.
Uchis closed out her portion with back-to-back fan favorites, the inspirational “After the Storm” from her 2018 breakout album “Isolation” and smash hit “telepatía,” both of which got the crowd moving and singing along, including myself. Even if I couldn’t fully engage with every song, I still greatly enjoyed the variety and personality Uchis had to offer.
After one final break, it was time for Tyler. A video played over a set of curtains showing a beautiful nature setting before settling on a moving road, over which “SIR BAUDELAIRE” began playing.
Tyler himself rose from below the stage, rapping along inside of a 1930s Rolls Royce. As the song came to a close, the video changed to a large mansion before being lifted up to reveal a full recreation of the same house built on stage, including staircases and an interior that Tyler began moving through as he transitioned into a stand-out performance of “CORSO,” followed by “LEMONHEAD” and “HOT WIND BLOWS.”
This opening portion of the set was electric, with each new song re-energizing both myself and the audience. I was rapping along as best I could, and even so still couldn’t help but occasionally stop and soak in how well Tyler commanded the stage.
The music cut as Tyler began addressing the crowd, speaking on issues surrounding his asthma and how he had hoped the crowd would be more chill so he wouldn’t have to strain his voice as much. This only made the crowd cheer louder, and Tyler vowed to do his best to keep up, following with renditions of “LUMBERJACK” and “MASSA.”
It was with the switch into “WUSYANAME” that the final and most impressive element of Tyler’s show was revealed, as now occupying the path between stages was a speedboat which he performed on top of while riding over to the smaller stage, now covered in tall grass. While it could be viewed as gimmicky, I admired the lengths Tyler went to in keeping his show feeling fresh across its length.
Now on the second stage, Tyler hit upon a few tracks from his 2017 album “Flower Boy,” all of which I adored. The three-song run of “Boredom,” “911” (my favorite Tyler song) and “See You Again” were some of the best of the show, as there was a clear connection between Tyler and the audience through call-and-response sections and moments of the crowd singing along.
Following this, Tyler spoke to the crowd again, asking them to sing along to the following songs so he could get a chance to catch his breath and introduced a medley of older cuts spanning 2011’s “Goblin,” 2013’s “Wolf” and 2015’s “Cherry Bomb,” all of which were recieved warmly by the crowd. This older era of Tyler’s music is not particularly my favorite, but the choices were some of the best from those albums, so very little of the momentum built up thus far was lost.
Tyler once again boarded his boat for a passionate performance of “I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE” before returning to the main stage for the final section of the show.
The energy was brought back up with an explosive rendition of “Who Dat Boy” followed by another three-track run, this time from 2019’s “IGOR.” “I THINK” and “EARFQUAKE were groovy and entrancing in a way I couldn’t help but dance to, and the loudest and most aggressive performance of the whole night came with an incredible version of “NEW MAGIC WAND.”
Reaching the end of the show, Tyler shouted out all the previous performers and once again thanked the crowd before finishing things off with the celebratory anthem “RUNITUP.” The indoor fireworks helped create an atmosphere of finality to a night full of great performances and exceptional energy that I can’t imagine soon forgetting.