Wednesday, on a crisp fall evening in Austin an image of the Texas flag waved on the stage of the Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater just before Post Malone stepped out and greeted a sold-out crowd with his full name (Austin Richard Post) before blurting “it feels good to be back in Austin, Texas again!”
Malone got his start with internet hit “White Iverson” that went viral thanks to a big response to the track on Soundcloud which allowed him to gain fans from all over the world, yet his roots are here in Texas. A man stood next to me before the show, waiting on Malone to appear. “Are you a big fan?” I asked, and he said yes, but he was really here for his 20 year old daughter who was on the front row. They drove in from Waco to see the show. She discovered Malone first online as did her friends.
Most of the crowd was young and dressed to the nines with high heels, skirts and club attire. The line to get into Stubbs wrapped around the block and down towards the interstate, the kind of line you would see to get into an exclusive club event. The crowd was ready for Malone and a good time.
The good times kicked off with openers Smokepurpp and Yung Pinch. The kids knew the words to the songs and the crowd jumped up and down as one, dancing to the beats, screaming. Yung Pinch asked for the stage lights to be turned off and had everyone get their phones out so the audience could become one dancing mass of moving light. This was not the type of concert where phone use was discouraged, it was a show where phone use was embraced and encouraged for a change.
When Malone took the stage, every young fan’s phone was lifted in the air, while shrieking fans live streamed and Snapchatted their friends. The rapper and singer began the set by making a somber note of tribute to the victims of the recent Las Vegas shootings before telling the crowd “We’re not going to let hate fucking win!” which caused cheers to erupt. Malone proceeded to bid adieu to a list of fallen musicians including the recently deceased Tom Petty and randomly included hometown hero Stevie Ray Vaughn, which garnered even louder cheers before launching into “Too Young”. The energy kept building into “Go Flex” with fans waving their hands and singing. By the time Post moved into his third track “I Fall Apart” he had the audience eating out of his hands.
POST MALONE PHOTO GALLERY
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Malone took this moment to vulnerably confess to his audience in a sad voice “This next song goes out to the stupid bitch that broke my heart” which caused the crowd to roar back in a protective “fuck that bitch” chant over and over before Post started singing “I Fall Apart.”
It’s easy to see why Malone has such a loyal fan base. Throughout his set he checked on the audience to see if they were okay and could hear his music. After getting confirmation that all was well, he even gave a shout out to the sound guy, down to complimenting his moustache. He gave a nod to the well-dressed “ladies in the building”, dedicating song, “Déjà vu” to them. The audience responded with cheers and hair tosses as they danced away to the rhythm.
An acoustic cover of Nirvana’s “All Apologies” followed before Malone amped the crowd back up with “Money Made Me Do It” but not before taking a moment to give pause for living in every moment, and telling his audience “if it’s my last (night) I’m glad I got to do with with ya’ll in Texas”. Every step of the way the crowd responded to Malone and his confessions, and agreed with everything he said. There was nothing held back, and as Post swung his microphone around on stage during “Rock Star” and let it clamor to the ground. He sheepishly picked it back up at the end to test it was still working, then grinned after confirming it was before explaining how venues charge a lot of money for tickets to see him yet they still charge him upwards of $1,000 for broken mics. The audience laughed.
Malone shared one more tender moment when he explained how when he was starting off nobody believed in him, how everyone told him he would never have sold out shows. Now those same people are telling him congratulations. Just before launching into hit song “Congratulations” he gave the young audience some advice: “Live your dreams. No one can stop you.” Many teared up or just sat there soaking in his words and then singing in unison with the rest of the crowd.
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When a fan named Ronnie was asked what he loved about Post Malone, he replied earnestly and emphatically that he felt like so much of hip hop was people putting on a front, and that “no one sounds like Post Malone. He has originality and is poetic and he has meaning to his raps, you can feel it.”