Inarguably one of the most popular artists on the face of the planet, Texas-raised Post Malone has been thriving for the last five years, enjoying commercial success with each release since 2016’s Stoney. Starting off in the somewhat-dreaded SoundCloud rap lane, Post Malone made his way out of that box with consistency, charm, and a wide-ranging appeal. After Stoney, Malone had fans in the hip-hop and pop crowds twiddling their thumbs as they waited for his eventual follow-up, the critically-acclaimed beerbongs & bentleys, which remains a streaming favorite to this day. The singer/rapper made history another time with his third studio album Hollywood’s Bleeding last year, leading to a multi-nation sold-out arena tour that impacted Montreal, Canada’s Bell Center on Sunday, February 16.
Upon arriving at the arena, which holds over 21,000 fans on any given day, Post Malone’s panoramic following was made clear from the jump. Humans of all ages, genders, and backgrounds were waiting in line to enter the packed building. Whether you were in the general admission pit, one of the seated sections, or in a box view getting VIP service, you were forced to wait outside with thousands of others before making your way into your designated entrance.
With his radio appeal, a multitude of generations was present to watch the rapper, who was last in the city for Osheaga Festival in 2018. A band of supporting acts, including Tyla Yaweh and Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd fame, opened up for the diamond-certified artist, complementing his sound and bringing similar amounts of energy to their sets. I, unfortunately, was stuck in a media security room during the entirety of Yaweh’s set but several attendees raved about his song selection, his stage presence, and his overall dedication to artistry.
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Given the number of times they’ve collaborated in the past, striking on songs like “Sunflower” and “Spoil My Night,” Swae Lee was the perfect addition to this tour. When he’s touring with his brother Slim Jxmmi as the duo Rae Sremmurd, party vibes dictate their set, but last night at the Bell Center, Swae was more emotional than ever before. He seemed to stray ever-so-slightly from his “No Flex Zone” past to focus on his softer offerings, including “Guatemala” and his celebrated section of “Unforgettable.”
The 26-year-old songwriter got personal with his fans, recalling one girl from his meet-and-greet earlier that night before noticing her in the crowd, inviting her onto the stage, and serenading her with her favorite song. He even debuted some unreleased music before flashing his phone number on the mega-tron, encouraging fans to shoot him a text message for additional release information. The words “Human Nature” appeared on the screen before Swae exited the stage, perhaps offering an early look into his next solo drop, which meant only one more performer was slated to entertain the crowd: the incomparable Post Malone.
Much of Post Malone’s appeal comes from his universal likeability. Post Malone occupies an extremely unique role in the world of hip-hop. At first, he was not fully accepted as the total package in rap but, after proving himself as a veritable hitmaker, the hip-hop community has had no choice but to accept him. His face is filled with tattoos, he drinks a shit-ton of Bud Light, and his smile lights up a room filled with over 20,000 people. The man’s presence is unlike any other artist I’ve witnessed in a live setting.
Rocking a shirt that included a woman’s picture and the words “She belongs to the streets,” Post Malone came out to a boisterous Montreal welcome, performing a myriad of head-bopping tunes from his three ultra-popular albums.
“I’m here to sing you some shitty songs and get fucked up,” said the 24-year-old artist before admitting that, prior to getting on stage, he had played a few rounds of beer pong with his boys. It’s that transparency and relatability that keeps fans coming back for future Post Malone releases.
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Post was active throughout much of the show, taking a breather only to perform a few slower cuts from Stoney and b&b. Even then, you could tell that he was giving it his all for the thousands in attendance. His face dripped with sweat after belting out fifteen-straight bangers, burning off all of those beer-pong calories quickly. As the energy began to reach a peak, Swae Lee returned to the stage with a bouquet of sunflowers to tease their joint collaboration comparing the human soul to the delicate flora, handing out stems to front-row attendees. The two have incredible chemistry, which clearly transcends the studio. While they obviously have the ability to make some of the catchiest songs of the last decade, their friendship is what became most clear from their interactions on stage, enjoying a warm embrace before Posty finished the remainder of his tracklist.
Above all else, the Runaway Tour proves Malone’s status as rap’s resident rock star. Before closing his set with “Congratulations,” Posty performed a 21 Savage-less version of his hit record “rockstar.” An extended instrumental break allowed the star to run to the backstage area to grab the guitar he so passionately strummed on minutes earlier to an acoustic version of “Stay,” before smashing it to shreds and pouring a can of Bud Light into the wreckage. Would you expect anything less from Post?
This isn’t a typical rap show, but that much should already be clear when considering purchasing tickets to a Post Malone concert. The man refuses to be boxed into a single genre, adapting elements of hip-hop, pop, rock, and even country in his music. If you’re attending a future leg of the Runaway Tour, be prepared to encounter an emotive new experience.