“Young Gerald is home. Young Gerald is home. Young Gerald is home!” G-Eazy said, spreading his arms to a screaming audience.
G-Eazy, an Oakland native who first found mainstream fame in 2014 with his album These Things Happen, often has his success accredited to his ability to produce rhythmic hits with a catchy chorus often sung by a mainstream pop artist. But it was clear Thursday night at the Fox Theater that, to Oakland, this concert was about one of their own fighting his way to fame and achieving widespread recognition.
Despite the understanding that many of these fans had been there from the beginning, this stop on “The Beautiful & Damned Tour” was unsurprisingly overpopulated by tracks from The Beautiful & Damned. Disappointingly, the setlist prioritized G-Eazy’s new album and featured only a small collection of hits from his previous albums, omitting old favorites such as “Tumblr Girls.”
Yet this disappointment was reconciled by the fact that many of the tracks from G-Eazy’s new album were elevated in his live performance, supplemented by pitch-perfect graphics, lighting and smoke machines. “Leviathan,” a less exciting song from The Beautiful & Damned, was suddenly brought to life as the representation of damnation through its vibrant, jazzy beat.
“Fly Away” shined with its a track recording of featured artist Ugochi’s haunting voice, which echoed through the concert hall as G-Eazy rapped earnestly and desperately into the mic. The track’s accompanying dark blue and pink lighting invoked the desired emotions of sadness and resignation, further conveyed through dazzling bird visuals presented on screen.
Parts of the concert also honored music collaborator Halsey. During their shared song “Him & I,” the stage lit up with clips from the music video to fill the void left by Halsey’s absence. G-Eazy, dressed in all white, paid homage to the singer again as he sang the lyric “2017 Bonnie and Clyde,” standing in front of blown-up, home-video-esque clips of Halsey.
The concert was split into three thematic components, each identified by bold, white text onstage. “Part 1: The Beautiful” consisted of G-Eazy’s darker, more reflective tracks such as “Pray For Me,” in which he contemplates his lavish lifestyle and his fear that he will lose himself in the fame. It also included some tracks about about love and loss, most memorably conveyed through “Some Kind of Drug.” During this section, G-Eazy was dressed in a black T-shirt and jeans, with his leather jacket donned and his hair slicked back — giving out major “Grease” vibes.
After about an hour of performing, G-Eazy left the stage and the words “Part 2: The Damned” appeared on screen. Suddenly, the whole stage was lit in bright red, and G-Eazy emerged, now dressed in a white straitjacket. The room vibrated with each wildly strong beat.
This portion of the concert was louder and faster. G-Eazy performed some of his classic, “I don’t give a fuck” bangers such as “You Got Me.” He paid tribute to his own journey and how he got to the stage that night. The portion included older tracks such as “Random” and the conclusion to the second part, “Eazy.” The latter track, off his new album, chronicles his journey from when he was 14 and just beginning to rap, to his early 20s, selling his house and traveling constantly so that he could bring more attention to his first album, to finally making it at 27 and finding out that “making it” did not signify the end of the struggle, but just the beginning. It was in this song that G-Eazy really honored what he had come from, and it was after this song that G-Eazy exited the stage, making fans wonder if the concert was really over this time. Not yet.
It was finally time for “Part 3: The Epilogue.” This was G-Eazy’s encore, and it was played as his biggest triumph, featuring three of his biggest hits: “Him & I,” “Me, Myself & I” and “No Limit”. It was 10 minutes of pure satisfaction. When he exited the stage for the final time, there was palpable excitement from the audience after such an explosive finale.
Most memorable from the night was the feeling of community in the room — the notion that more than anything, this was a homecoming. G-Eazy’s concert proved itself worthy of this title, acting as a triumphant return for the hometown hero.
Contact Rhea Srivats at [email protected].