ASTROWORLD Festival: A Tale of Rage

HOUSTON –  The definition of rage is defined as violent and uncontrolled anger in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Travis Scott altered the meaning to define the word, “rager,” as what he calls his passionate fans. Although, there is no anger, just high-energy antics, positivity, and fun.

There was much fun to be had and plenty of music to be consumed.

The weather was mild, with a perfect pairing of the blue sky and the sun, with more than 50,000 in attendance. This was the perfect pretense for Scott’s second annual ASTROWORLD Festival.

The ASTROWORLD Festival Lineup included DaBaby, Houston All-Stars, Sheck Wes, Megan Thee Stallion, Tay Keith, Young Thug, Migos, Gucci Mane, Pharrell, Marilyn Manson, Travis Scott, and a surprise appearance by Kanye West.

Surprises are usually just that, surprising. And well, we were surprised at what Travis had in store.

While there were carnival rides, game booths, food trucks, and merch tables, the music was the meat and substance of it all. There were several highlights that can be talked about and that stood out.

While ASTROWORLD Festival heavily leans on hip-hop and rap, the performance that was spectacular was Marilyn Manson’s set. I walked midway to the middle of the stage grounds and had a beer in my hand. I had a gut feeling the crowd would be mixed in their energy as opposed to being loud and vivacious at the other major hip-hop acts.

I looked around to see what audience would be lined up and interested in seeing Manson’s performance. I was intrigued.

“Halloween was last week bro!” a guest yelled loudly behind me. I turned around and as suspected, the guest was more on the younger side. I chuckled and looked to my friend Raven and told her, “this is the type of shit that gets me excited because I know this kid is going to have a good time once the show starts.”

I will say, Manson, held his own and performed many of his hits including The Beautiful People, Dope Show, and Sweet Dreams.

While the set was short, Manson did not let time constraints limit his set and production. Manson changed his wardrobe to highlight the many eras he has spanned in his music career.

And at 50-years-old, Manson shared much appreciation for the youth in attendance. “Bet you didn’t see this one coming, huh.” Manson subtly chimed as he kicked off his performance.

It was fun to see people listen to his performance while not knowing his songs, his more popular songs did draw crowd participation.

“Here’s one you might know.” He shouted as Sweet Dreams began to play.

I turned around and looked at the guest who made the Halloween joke on Manson. Low and behold, he was head-banging.

Travis Scott’s performance as always was a treat and a spectacle. His visual presentation and stage presence are among the top tier of performers. With a recent knee injury, Scott was not able to jump and mosh and move around the stage in an energetic fashion, as is his typical demeanor.

This did not inhibit him and how he would open the show. The lights went dim, the crowd was silent and excited as to what was going to happen next.

A visual of an impaired and injured Scott traveling in an ambulance with two EMTs smoking weed and passing along jokes at Scott’s expense came across the screen.

The thinly veiled screen fell and the ambulance was on stage, EMT actors opened the ambulance doors and hoisted Scott onto a platform.

I heard guests disappointed at the lack of rollercoaster staging this time around but Scott did not disappoint with great production and vivid animations on screen.

Scott played and went through a catalog of his most recent hits and classic songs including Mamacita, 90210, Butterfly Effect, Antidote, Carousel, and more including his newest single, “Highest in the Room.”

I couldn’t help but try and understand what was going through Scott’s head as he performed.  With all the recent news of his split with Kylie Jenner, to Drake allegedly now being romantically linked to her, I couldn’t help but wonder. Although, it appeared that Scott was not even thinking about that situation because his performance was telling and it was mesmerizing.

It would be something that any person might not take lightly, let alone perform for a large and passionate crowd, but for Scott, it was another playground for him to share with others.

Ensuring that others knew he was the highest in the room, Scott stood above an elevated platform held above by a crane. It was a very thoughtful and fun visual reference and a callback to his latest single, “Highest in the Room.”

Scott wanted you to know he was the highest in the room and despite recent events, he wanted to show not only the guests but the world that while he may not publicize his emotions, you could feel his raw unmatched energy in person.

“I want to give a shout out to the man who gave me a chance,” Scott proclaimed as Kanye West roared onstage performing one of his newest songs, “Follow God.”

The crowd erupted in cheers, hollering, and loud proclamations of surprise. I myself was surprised and happy that Kanye was there to perform alongside Travis and was there to show support.

It was absolutely unbelievable, fun, hectic, and more. You could feel the electricity pulsing all around you.

Scott’s productions reminded me of the high production performances Kanye produces while he is on tour. And with Kanye in attendance, it was very clear who he took much appreciation for.

Until next time, ASTROWORLD Fest.

This story was originally published for News 4 San Antonio.