The report from the Travis Scott concert in Rome

Then you don’t understand why an album is called with a single Circus Maximus should have been presented at the Pyramids of Giza, as Travis Scott proclaimed some time ago in apparent performance anxiety after cramming an entire tube car into his new work and a whole visual bulimia that led him to simultaneously host a presentation event to organize at the last moment in Rome in the rather full tank of the Circus Maximus away, and at the same time a kind of concert film already released in American cinemas and signed by Gaspar Noé, Harmony Korine and Nicolas Winding Refn (this entry into which Gotha ​​is interesting for festival cinema, with hints of commerce, inevitable kitsch and some excellent ideas), also seen last night in Eintopf on Apple Music.

And then we talk about the film concert Circus MaximusIt’s really not clear why he didn’t go to Giza or even Rome but to Pompeii to shoot the video clips of his singles in the ancient theater directed by Gaspar Noé (if I understand correctly), with six dancers dressed as cheeleaders and the same minimalist postatomic scenography as last night’s concert and – unfortunately – a questionable choice of tempo that distracts him from Pink Floyd, already the absolute protagonists of these ruins, and risks taking him straight into the Magic train entangle by Minister Sangiuliano Rome-Pompeii. All things the Houston rapper rightfully doesn’t know about, but sadly we do. There is much more to say about the film. The dialogue with Rick Rubin on two sofas in the Tuscan countryside is rather comical (I believe), whose directing no one has dared to claim. On the other hand, the video clips shot in Catalonia and Nigeria are very beautiful, in the old Afropunk cinema style, there is no signature here either, I wish they were Harmony Korine’s.

All this has nothing to do with yesterday’s concert (of which you can see some videos here). In fact it has a little to do with it, because at the end there was a final disappointment in terms of staging and performance, excellent and loud in the “attacks” with fire and flames, but overall empty and without narrative. utopia? Where is the utopia? “It’s not your usual utopia, it’s a bit of a conflict,” Travis Scott explains to Rick Rubin in the film. In short, the finale was a bit like a DJ set, if it’s fair to say, a bit like a lonely and gladiator show that ended up being a bit exhausted and out of breath.

And in any case, he was finally able to sing “I’m a Walking Attraction” last night in the opening of Circus Maximus. A living attraction in the Circus Maximus. Dressed like a post-Atomic quarterback, all white (and all black for the second half of the concert), shoulder armor visible, ragged look, and mutant Innuit goggles on head (great gimmick, wear them for at least a year) . or so). “God gave me the strength / These are the front row seats you wanted / They will be our final moments,” says Swae Lee, who introduces him to the album, and evokes the narrative dimension with this final semi-prophecy the character Travis Scott remains deeply connected to the ten people who died at the concert astroworld, three years ago, an unfortunate case of which he was not found guilty, but which he has turned into a clear sign of the demonic in all the events and stories that concern him. Whatever that means.

Even the mosh moments that have become commonplace at his concerts are therefore charged a little by that air, by imminent danger, by earthquakes, dust and holes in the crowd. Amid fire and heavy metal fumes, Travis Scott stands in front of a wall of woofers and subwoofers that looks like an old ruined building. bombed. The subsonic booms and random shots help him Pam pam A nice old sound system added by the only musician on stage, DJ Chase B above, the only sidekick in this solo performance of a rapper against the world, the dark, the ghosts, probably the devil. A true friend, Chase B, also from Houston, dropped out of college for hip-hop, and beneath the evening’s raw facade wafts a faint thread of prosaic generational solidarity (even with the public, I think). Like these movies Warrior of the year 3000all an illusion Blax plotting Mafia familia, but one of the big contradictions, dolls waiting at home, half-finished university, etc.

Travis Scott sings “I’m natural black / and Breath is unnatural,” mimicking the caged beast, the gladiator’s adrenaline, the shortness of breath. Especially since in the Circus Maximus – empty for centuries and metaphysically forgotten in the middle of the city, former tow arena, then cinema of the Roman summer in the 80s and finally the hot bowl (less) football mega festivals – now everyone plays there. Even the Imagine Dragons, no offense and you remember a controversy a few years ago about under rents, because here they now have to sell everything they can to tourists. Apart from that, in the Circus Maximus there was the chariot race of Ben Hur, the Americans knew him from old peplum movies. And the gladiators fought elsewhere. But that’s less important than it was when Kanye West was there Black skinheads – which would then be the source Circus Maximus – he confused the three hundred Spartans in the film with the Romans and perhaps for rhyme reasons with the Trojans (“300 bitches” anyway).

We mention Kanye West because last night’s only real event was him (videos here), his surprising appearance as early as the fourth play, face bare, dressed all in black, oddly cautious and unarmed, but enormously charismatic for that very reason. appearance and disappearance. It is not correct to say that the scene has gained the upper hand, on the contrary, the scene has become deflated in the face of apocalyptic imagery praise god And I can’t tell myself anything. “We will go back to life from the grave,” he more or less said. “Without Kanye West there would be no Travis Scott,” the host of the evening sincerely thanked his teacher on stage. Maybe he also puts in the emphasis “Without Kanye West there would be no Rome”, which is a bit of an exaggeration, but can certainly fit as a homage to Spartacus.

In fact, the other event within the event was the void left by Kanye West and waiting for another success that never came. Since the pre-concert rumors had bothered to announce some sort of international hip-hop event at the Circus Maximus – some said The Weeknd and some Future, maybe even Playboi Carti and even Drake – well after Kanye West thanks him had and when it is said that the narrative arc of the evening has not grown any further, but rather is in decline. Here, without Drake a piece like meltdown, from yummy diss, that doesn’t make much sense. She was hardly heard k pop lacking Bad Bunny holding more than half of it, as does the ending with telekinesis, which is a synopsis of the situation, life and death united etc. etc. (“Since I sold cocos / got Chanel on my jacket” and then “I can’t wait to finish in the glory of eternal life”), without a future and not even Sza, whose voice ends the concert on the empty stage. Curious: Beyoncè’s voice is included in the only two female appearances Finally and that of Sza in telekinesis, gladiator Travis Scott left the stage. The whole staging is very unfeminine but not much more was asked of him either, a little Maranza on the border with Incel, it could be summer in Rome but that was the mood.

And Travis seemed increasingly alone on stage, the staging obsessively two-dimensional, seated on an artificial rock shrouded in smoke like old Wagner scenography and revived by mega-screens of blinding white, fiery red and midnight blue. Audiences, credit be to him, never lost their enthusiasm. Despite all the pitfalls and VIP grandstand traps, this is an invention of the ancient Romans. They sang from memory highest in the room And Goose flesh, give generously. In the end, the event was celebrated more than birthday boy Travis.

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