On July 29th 2012, Pittsburgh emcees Wiz Khalifa & Mac Miller brought their summer tour “Under the Influence of Music” to the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, ON. Special guests included; Boaz, Chevy Woods, Chiddy Bang and Kendrick Lamar. Anticipated as one of the biggest concerts of the year, thousands of people of all ages flooded the venue. Groups of fans could be seen walking from every direction eventually spanning across the entire bridge to Ontario Place; all for a chance to see some of their favorite rappers up close and personal.
Rapper Boaz started the evening off by taking the stage with DJ Shef, coming on just after 5:30pm. Cheers from many audience members followed, as we all knew the massive show was officially underway. At this time there were still some seats that had yet to be filled, but that wasn’t stopping those watching from enjoying themselves. Since being the newest addition to Rostrum Records, it was exciting to see what the Pittsburgh artist was going to bring to the table. Putting more than enough energy into his performance Boaz jumped around stage and got into songs like “Puffin Purp” which saw positive reaction from everyone who was watching. Boaz did a great job of previewing what the night was going to entail.
With DJ Bonics on stage, red letters could be seen behind him that read “Chevy Woods”. It wasn’t hard to recognize who would be hitting the stage next. DJ Bonics got the crowd right into things as Chevy opened his set with “Homerun”. Fans moved from their seats to get a closer view of the performance, as they were more than eager to catch a glimpse of Chevy on stage. Songs that followed included “Nameless” as well as an older song off his mixtape “The Cookout” entitled “Clint Eastwood”. This saw audience members wave their hands back and forth to the laid back beat. Getting into some of his newer material, Chevy continued rolling as he performed a handful of songs off his latest mixtape “Gang Land”. Interacting with the crowd he took us to a city in his hometown and performed “Hazelwood” which many thoroughly enjoyed. Stand out tracks included “M’fer”, “U.S.A.”, “Vice” and “Two Hundred”, where we had the opportunity to see Tuki Carter join Chevy on stage. Showcasing two more freestyles including “Yonkers” he exited the stage showing his love for Toronto, as fans showed their respect for him as well.
Up next was the hip-hop duo Chiddy Bang from Philadelphia. With the cover of their 2012 album “Breakfast” stretching across the nine screens behind them, they opened their set with a song that shares the same name as the album “Breakfast”. As both artists’ chanted “Hands Up T-dot”, fans followed waving them up and down. Another song performed off the album “Breakfast” was “Mind Your Manners” which also saw the duo interacting very well with the crowd. Making it clear that this was their first time in Canada, fans showed their appreciation by cheering them on. The artists’ got creative as they announced that they were going to freestyle based on a topic suggested by audience members. Suggestions included; Money, Taylor Gang, Marijuana, Yogurt and Pizza. Chiddy Bang responded as one of them accepted the challenge and used not one topic, but all of the suggestions that were given and pieced together a unique live freestyle. Another song performed was “High” by Big Sean featuring Wiz Khalifa and Chiddy Bang. At this time the energy in the building was escalating as fans awaited the next performance.
As the face of Kendrick Lamar was portrayed over the nine screens with his twitter id conveniently placed underneath, fans were ecstatic as they predicted him to come out. The artist from Compton, California took the stage by storm as many got up from their seats to watch the lyrical genius. It was at this time that all eyes were on Kendrick as people began recording his performance, holding up their phones towards the stage. Songs performed included: “Hol’ Up”, and “ADHD” which came from his project “Section .80” which was seen major buzz since it’s release. The rapper performed another one of his songs titled “P&P” from his self-titled EP; this had many including myself, singing along. Screams echoed the building as Kendrick jumped into his most recent song “Swimming Pools” (Drank) [prod. by T-Minus], which has seen positive criticism from many in the music industry. With his debut album entitled “good kid, m.A.A.d city” dropping October 2nd, 2012 this is an artist that cannot be overlooked as he only continues to make great music. Doing an amazing job warming up the audience, Kendrick left the stage, as onlookers waited patiently as the main acts of the night were minutes away from coming out.
DJ Bonics wasn’t the only one who joined the two main artists that night. Sharing the stage with him was a Live Band consisting of a Keyboardist, Drummer, and Bass Guitarist. The live music came as a surprise but nonetheless added an element of awe, captivating the colossal audience with a REAL factor for the entire night. With everyone on stage working in perfect harmony, fans appreciated the effort that was put forth into these performances. The band also mimicked energy portrayed by the performers themselves throughout both performances, which was incredible to see. With brief intermissions in between sets the stage crew quickly got to work maneuvering equipment in it’s right place for each performer. This barely gave fans enough time to buy a snack before cheering from thousands warned them that somebody was on stage as they rushed back to their seats.
Whether you made your way to the concert to see Mac Miller or Wiz Khalifa you would have been impressed with both performers regardless. However, one thing for sure is that Mac put on a more than memorable show that night. Hitting the stage, massive cheers vibrated the entire venue, as crowd goers were more than anxious to see what Mac had in store. Dressed in a blue hat, wearing a decorative white t-shirt and blue jeans, thousands of girls (and guys) yelled at the top of their lungs coming to terms that this was real. With everybody standing, Mac wasted no time getting into songs like “Knock Knock” and “Nikes On My Feet” which saw immense crowd reaction as these were both songs from his 2010 breakout mixtape “K.I.D.S.” With energy stretching from the front of the amphitheatre to the lawn in the back, nothing but smiles could be seen from thousands of fans. As we continued on into the night Mac performed other notable songs such as: “Donald Trump”, “Loud” and “Lucky Ass Bitch”. During this time it came to my surprise as enormous white balloons made their way into the crowd as fans punched and spiked them towards the stage. Shortly after, three main smoke units located center stage allowed smoke to shoot out rapidly in sync with some of the songs; adding more than enough exhilaration. Just when you thought it was over, explosions of confetti were released into the audience; however, it didn’t seem to be a problem for those who made their way closest to the stage as they embraced every moment. Other songs included: “Smile Back” and “Frick Pick Market” which both came off his highly successful mixtape “Blue Slide Park.”
Speaking to crowd, Miller told us to “get our lighters out” as flames from hundreds of lighters could eventually be seen filling the night sky as he continued to perform some of his more laid back songs. Along with some music videos, unique visuals were also presented on the screen behind him, which only contributed to everything that had already occurred thus far. Maintaining a high amount of energy throughout his entire performance, Mac truly gave the fans something to remember. Stating many times during his set that this was one of the best shows he’s ever done; he backed that up by taking to his twitter to release the following statement “tonight was legendary man. for real. one of the best shows I’ve ever done.” As his set came to an end he laid down on his back, which was more than appropriate seeing the energy and passion he possessed during his performance. After leaving the stage to massive cheers, only the brave ventured out to buy something, as we all knew the main act of the night was about to hit the stage, for what was sure to be an experience of a lifetime.
As the lights darkened the true spotlight was put on Wiz Khalifa as the Captain of the Taylors made his way center stage to the likes and cheers from the thousands in attendance. Dressed in a bucket hat, black under the influence muscle tee and ripped jeans along with some jewelry that lit the night sky, Wiz embraced us as he grabbed the entire microphone stand, lifting it high in the air as he mesmerized every member of the audience. Claiming that all of us had “Cabin Fever”, he performed popular songs such as: “Phone Numbers”, “Gangbang” and a personal favorite “Homicide.” After the first few songs, security began telling people they weren’t allowed to stand in their seats; however, that didn’t last long as hardcore fans were willing to do anything they could to see Wiz. Known for his illustrious stage presence, next came songs from his most recent mixtape “Taylor Allderdice”. Quoting Wiz himself he says, “Make sure the positive energy keep flowing, all the weed keep rolling” as he did just that performing the song “California” along with others including: “The Code” and “The Grinder”. Slowing the tempo down, fans sang to songs such as: “The Cruise” and the well known anthem “Taylor Gang” which saw another appearance from Chevy Woods, as fans jumped up and down. With one half of the screens behind him displaying a Marijuana Leaf and the other half displaying some Oranges, it was only fitting that the next selection of songs were off Wiz’s mixtape “Kush & Orange Juice”. With DJ Bonic’s playing the intro to the mixtape, songs performed were: “In The Cut” and “Still Blazing”. Asking us if we had seen the film “Mac & Devin Go to High School” many audience members applauded as they showed their support towards the movie. This was a hint as the next song performed came from the films soundtrack. As the lead single “Young Wild And Free” (Ft. Bruno Mars) came on next; children, teens and adults could be seen enjoying themselves, as they were upbeat while singing the chorus through the entire song. With lights of all colors moving in every direction, the atmosphere was extraordinary.
The track “Never Been” followed as the drummer displayed his talents by giving us a drum solo during certain parts of the song. Not backing away from his older material Wiz performed songs such as; “Be Easy’, “Ink My Whole Body” and a personal favorite “Boarding Pass.” His more than impressive array of songs intrigued fans transitioning into a series of tracks coming from his debut album “Rolling Papers”. Performances of “The Race, “Hopes and Dreams”, “On My Level” and Black and Yellow” dominated the speakers as even Wiz himself grabbed one of the drummer’s drumsticks and began banging on the cymbal repeatedly, causing the energy in the venue to reach an all time high. “Work Hard, Play Hard” dropped as the hard-hitting lead single from his second studio album, O.N.I.F.C., erupted into the amphitheatre. Fans responded with more than enough enthusiasm seeing that the single to date has sold 804,000 copies digitally. One last visual displayed Wiz with the letters O.N.I.F.C. above him, promoting his second studio album, which releases September 18, 2012. Ironically enough, a song called “O.N.I.F.C.” ended the night, as every artist on the bill, including other members came out as they lined the stage joining in on the lyrics. Everyone applauded an amazing performance and outstanding job. Wiz left us all with a simple message that night; to show nothing but peace and love and with thousands of people in attendance that night, that’s exactly what everyone did.
Other than a few police arrests and long lineups, this was a mind-blowing event from start to finish. It was great to see fans of all ages interact so well with not only the artists but with each other themselves. Overall the show went on very smoothly, transitioning from different acts with no difficulty. With so many people attending the event it was gratifying to see people who enjoyed every aspect of the concert. As fans inched their way forward exiting the Molson Amphitheatre they talked amongst themselves of how spectacular the show was. One thing was for sure; we were all under the influence of something that night… music.
Photography by : Andrew Stephenson aka #shotbydrew