With the release of his latest, the Grammy-nominated studio album ASTROWORLD, Houston-based rapper Travis Scott came to Portland with high anticipation. His love for the Rose City, solidified in a 2017 tweet as well as a feature on Drake's More Life track “Portland,” brought a high level of excitement to the packed Moda Center.
True to ASTROWORLD’s fictional amusement park theme, in the concourse of the arena, carnival performers on stilts juggled clubs and welcomed fans to the show. A possibility of special guests buzzed around, as fans reminisced on Scott’s last Portland appearance, where he brought Drake on stage at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Most of the focus, however, was on the complex stage setup that occupied the floor. Two stages were on display in the middle of the arena, and what looked like a roller coaster track hung from the ceiling connected them. Even before taking the stage, it was clear that Scott’s production wouldn’t be just any ordinary show.
As Scott took the stage, popping up in a fury of fog and fire, the carnival of music and high-tech effects began. From the stage emerged a loop-de-loop roller coaster, which Scott demonstrated a ride on himself while hyping the crowd. He then took the stage again to continue his performance as fans on the floor lined up at the barricade, being brought onstage one by one to ride the coaster themselves as Scott blew through track after track of his discography.
The carnival extravaganza continued as the rapper moved from the B-stage to the main, causing mosh pits to erupt on the floor, and taking any and every opportunity for pyrotechnic effects. Later in the show, the full coaster hanging from the ceiling lowered, and Scott and his opening act Gunna boarded to ride through the arena while performing Scott’s hit “Antidote.”
Fans once again were treated to a ride of their own, watching the show from above as Scott closed out the night with “Goosebumps” and the cultural phenomenon, “Sicko Mode.”
Though megastar special guests were absent from this tour, Travis Scott’s extreme production and unmatched energy demonstrated his dedication to his art, and certainly proved his love for our city runs deep. —Brendan Swogger