Lil Uzi and Friends Electrify Chicago
by Ben Morris
After his headlining performance at Day 1 of Lollapalooza was cancelled because of storms in the area, Lil Uzi Vert made a triumphant return to Chicago and gave fans the opportunity to see him perform two weeks in a row. A week after performing at the Riviera Theatre, Uzi traveled a block and a half east to the Aragon Ballroom on Oct. 20. The event, intended to showcase Uzi and Playboi Carti, was put together by Spotify, whose “RapCaviar Live” concert series began in August with Gucci Mane in Atlanta. Since then, the shows, with differing artists, have made their way to big cities across the country.
After quickly blowing up in popularity throughout 2016, Uzi put out his latest album, “Luv is Rage 2,” on August 25, 2017. The album has been a major hit, as it has been on the Billboard top albums list for 10 weeks and has peaked at the number one spot (currently in the ninth spot). Because of this, many fans across the world were excited to see new songs performed in concert. However, on Oct. 19, Uzi tweeted that he was canceling his joint tour with Playboi Carti, saying that he needed to focus (specifics unknown). This tweet had Chicago in a frenzy, as people surfed the web trying to find out if that included his show the next day. Luckily, this tweet applied only to his own separate tour, and not to the event that Spotify put together.
Although most people came to see Uzi, there were a number of surprise acts that were very enjoyable. The first performer to take the stage was rapper Cardi B. As expected, the crowd went crazy when she played her top hit “Bodak Yellow.” “Bodak Yellow” is currently number two on the Billboard top 100 songs (but was formerly ranked at number one). Because of her recent engagement to Migos member Offset, no one was expecting her to be there.
After Cardi B., Playboi Carti came up and rocked the crowd. Carti, who is in a similar position that Uzi was in a few years ago in terms of rising fame, was the one expected feature of the event. With popular songs such as “Magnolia” and “wokeuplikethis*” (which is his song with Uzi), Carti put on a great set, even though he was only an opening act. Following Carti’s set, the crowd was shocked when Chicago natives Lil Bibby and Vic Mensa took the stage. The touch of hometown artists was the final spark of excitement the crowd needed before Uzi finally came on.
Just past 9:30, the club anthem “Sauce It Up” began to play, and, out of nowhere, Uzi flew onto the stage. Everyone was jumping around and singing along, as the fight to the front barricade was on for many shoving attendees. Aside from the music, Uzi was wearing a bright, diamond watch that could be seen and gazed at in amazement by fans in the back as he held the mic to his face. Uzi soon followed up with his 2x platinum record, “Money Longer.” The song, which came out of the “Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World” project and helped Uzi rise to fame, got every fan in attendance to jump and sing along, as the colorful light show, along with the blasting mist clouds, combined to spread not only the sound, but energy across the walls of the Aragon. A couple of songs later, Uzi performed another top hit, “Ps and Qs.” Here, Uzi took it upon himself to climb up the RapCaviar light board and give the performance from 25 feet above the ground.
About three quarters of the way through the show, the audience was thrown another twist. After Uzi stepped to the side of the stage, the lights went black and everything fell quiet. All of a sudden, G Herbo’s hit song “Rollin” began to blare from the speakers. Then, the Chicago native rapper darted out from behind the large sign and ran down the middle section of the stage that stretched into the crowd. After performing “Rollin,” Herbo stayed out to perform two more songs before Uzi returned.
Upon returning, Uzi chose to the continue with a more chilled-out song, titled “The Way Life Goes.” The song speaks about persevering through tough times, as Uzi reflects on the time he went through a bad breakup in 2016. Although it’s a sad song, the message is uplifting, telling others going through a similar situation that, eventually, their situation will get better. After this break from his typical upbeat performance, Uzi made sure to leave the crowd with a grand finale. As soon as the first notes of his 4x platinum hit “XO TOUR LIF3” began, the crowd erupted. The final performance was his best, as Uzi got so into it that he took off his shirt, threw it into the crowd, and began running across every inch of the stage, making sure that every person in attendance got one final moment of joy. In fact, one fan was so entertained and engulfed by the performance that he decided to jump on stage and start dancing, before promptly being tackled and removed by security, just seconds before the show officially came to a close.
Not only did Lil Uzi put on a spectacular show, but the performances of the five special guests made it a night to remember. It is safe to say that everyone left the Aragon Ballroom satisfied that night.