The popular music visionary literally lifted the roof off Rod Laver Arena.
Photography by Tasha Strachan
Only a select group of artists are able to fill Rod Laver Arena, let alone for three consecutive nights. It’s not only telling of the mega superstardom Post Malone has acquired, but heavy rotations of the American’s bangers on radio stations worldwide speak to his accessibility. When the likes of Jaden Smith, Tyla Yaweh, and DJ E-Nice are ushering in the night, it’s clear the musician is loved and revered, chugging a shoey or otherwise.
The all-star show was kicked off by DJ E-Nice, who remixed the likes of Sheck Wes, Blueface, and more, culminating in Travis Scott’s ‘Sicko Mode’ and inviting Tyla Yaweh on stage to maintain energy levels after. The misbehaving swagger of the rapper duly prompted the packed arena to raise their middle fingers to the sky amidst singles from new album Heart Full of Rage, and diving into the mosh pit (twice) was also rounded off by a tribute to the late XXXTentacion in ‘Take a Step Back’ and Yaweh’s single ‘She Bad’.
The show soon transformed into seas of peony pink and purple as second support Jaden Smith flexed his lavish repertoire of Californian sunsets and Tokyo’s neon alongside tracks from acclaimed release Syre. The coming-of-age album saw notables, ‘Batman’ and ‘Icon’, performed while Smith’s tireless, dance-dabbing bounce back, having just been discharged from hospital, encapsulated the star’s unconditional dedication to his craft. Moonwalking past any demons that have bogged him (is his Dad famous?), he delivered with unmistakably professional but youthful conduct.
Main man Post Malone began the show in fitting fashion – “We turned the hotel lobby to a party”, triggering plumes of smoke, spotlights and pyrotechnics accompanying ‘Zack and Codeine’ as the musician strutted out donning a coastal white and waves get-up, red solo cup never straying too far from hands. ‘Too Young’ introduced fits of rage with heaps more shotgun fire pillars dangerously firing away, with Posty belting out “Melbourne put your motherfuckin’ hands up! How the fuck y’all doing!?” to introduce the night in power.
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Without missing a beat, a crowd member’s accurate toss meant Posty soon ditched his plastic cup for a shoe that tumbled onto stage. Thunderous applause and sporting woos ensued as he transferred the remains of his beverage, drinking without a qualm.
Tracks like ‘Better Now’, ‘Candy Paint’ and ‘Paranoid’ encapsulated the artist’s personal see-saw, his constant swaying from heartbreak warfare to gallivanting, and flaunting of rags to riches. Underlining his identity today as an artist that many from Gen Z easily subscribe to – love, money, and just fuckin’ having a good time – the rapper’s delivery was epic without being uncontrolled.
When coupled with his signature raspy, soulful delivery, as in ‘I Fall Apart’, ‘Up There’, or the acoustical ‘Stay’, the artist manages to turn the tides of a party to his whims, from setting it ablaze to bidding sombre farewells almost instantly. In cases like ‘Sunflower’, the track from the animated Spider-Man flick, ‘Go Flex’, or even his rendition of ‘Return of the Mack’, the musician paints himself as a laidback visionary, dabbing into flashy poppy realms and shredding expectations of him away on stage. At one point the rapper gets up close and personal with the main camera, projecting his sweats, smirks and iconic face tatts as if announcing his indifference to the world.
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Many rappers today cut divisive figures amongst devotees of the genre, which is why some have disregarded Malone’s rise as nothing more than an overnight pop sensation. But he acknowledges that hate and dissent mid-performance, exclaiming that it’s “all fuckin’ okay.”
He then casually takes a drag from his lighted cigarette, microphone in hand, and smashes his guitar to shreds after he’s done with it – a true riot. He’s said his inspiration to become a 60-year old country singer remains true, and honestly, it’s easy to see why. “Do whatever you want to do, ’cause no one can stop you. Live your truth.”
Melancholic synths from 2015’s ‘White Iverson’, the debut single that shot him to prominence globally is now an anthem amongst fans and rightly so, as he disembarks on verses of the track to hand it over to the crowd to complete. Posty closes with ‘Congratulations’ as for the final time of the night towers of flames and fireworks erupt like ceremonial gunshots behind him, sending his unending love to the crowds that came out tonight.
“There’s no hate, no bullshit, just a good time. You guys make my dreams come true, I love you guys, and I’ll see you again tomorrow.”
Highlight: Crowd serenading Posty during ‘Stay’.
Lowlight: Someone left tonight without their right sneaker!
Crowd Favourite: White Iverson.