Review: Here’s what happened when Tory Lanez brought the I Told You Tour through Calgary
Calgary, AB – Originally published Nov. 21, 2016 – On Nov. 17, our friends over at Timbre Concerts brought Tory Lanez through Calgary for a stop along the I Told You Tour in support of Tory’s debut album release I Told You.
Calgary was actually lucky enough to get two back-to-back Tory Lanez shows during Sled Island in 2015. Tory came through and performed a packed-out outdoor show in the East Village, and then sold out his performance at Hifi Club the following night.
This time around, Tory was performing at an even bigger venue (Flames Central) for an even bigger crowd; with opening support from dancehall artist Kranium and Cash Money recording artist Jacquees. See how it all went down after the jump.
Photo: Sarah Jay
Dancehall-R&B artist Kranium kicked off the night proper by getting Calgary settled into the vibes. The only Kranium song I knew going into this show was “We Can” (obviously because of the Tory Lanez feature). But he got the crowd going. A few days after the show, Kranium sent out the following tweet: “My job is to F**k every woman musically just stimulate the mind.”
For some reason I had it in my head that because Kranium and Tory were BOTH in the building that night and BOTH on the track “We Can” that they would BOTH perform it together live on stage. But that didn’t happen. Kranium performed a solo dolo version of “We Can” backed by Tory Lanez tape vocals. I was sad.
Jacquees basically looks like a shorter, younger version of Weezy. And he’s on the Cash Money roster. So how has no one thought to call him Littler Wayne, yet? I’M JUS’ SAYIN’…
For those of you who don’t know the story behind how Jacquees got on the tour, here’s the backstory. Jacquees was really feelin’ himself back in February. He sent out a tweet implying that Chris Brown was the only R&B singer exempt from his personal mission to take over the R&B game. Tory Lanez responded with a crying face emoji and a laughing crying face emoji. Then Jacquees went hard on the Twitter beef tip and sent a bunch of angry tweets at Tory using some choice words. And by choice words, I mean he called him a “watermelon head” and a “peasant”. Savage AF.
Trigger fingers may have turned to Twitter fingers. But these particular Twitter fingers triggered a blossoming bromance (even though Tory won the beef because Jacquees in opening for him). That being said, Jacquees is an immaculate performer because he’s as much a dancer as he is an artist. Artistically, his live show is very similar to Tinashe’s. It’s not just a dude on stage. It’s a dude on stage who spends half his time performing songs and half his time dancing. I would love to watch this guy come back through Canada with his own headlining tour.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through watching Tory Lanez perform, it’s that stages are basically irrelevant. Tory Lanez spends at least half (if not more) of his set singing while crowd-surfing or crowd-walking. He warmed the crowd up to it towards the beginning of his set. It was a disaster and the crowd dropped him. So he got back on stage and berated the audience for a little bit and then tried again. Eventually the crowd got the hang of it and Tory was able to effortlessly transition between singing from the stage and singing from the crowd.
I find it really interesting that Tory is branded first as a rapper, and secondly as an R&B singer. Because I Told You is an R&B album and this show was an R&B show. Yet some of my favourite softer Tory songs (like “Higher” off I Told You) didn’t get performed. I was expecting a lot more of the new material to surface at the show. But Tory stuck to a setlist of his older hits and newer hits off I Told You. He also performed a brand new unreleased record for the audience titled “Dope Man Go”.
One of the highlights of the night was Tory’s rendition of Drake’s “Controlla”. That song more-or-less blew up as one of the 2016 summer anthems. Usually I am pretty clueless regarding mainstream rap and what the radio plays and what people actually f**k with. But I saw multiple people driving through downtown Calgary (yes… Calgary) blasting this song over the summer. So I think that serves as concrete proof that Tory’s “Controlla” was a thing. Like an actual thing.
Tory made a nod to his debut performance in Calgary where he performed “Traphouse” for the first time ever (this was before the song was officially released; I got footage of it). That was back at Sled Island 2015, when Tory came through and performed those two back-to-back shows for a demographic of Calgarians that previously had no idea who the kid even was. He made a mark on the city and I feel like that’s partially why this show sold out so quickly. Calgary – which is about as unprogressive as it gets when it comes to the urban arts – was a city that got to embrace Tory Lanez before he blew up. I feel like that touched a lot of fans, here.
Tory also took a minute to announce that it was his boy Nyce’s birthday (Nyce was featured on “Traphouse”, for the record). He later threw Nyce into the crowd for a birthday crowd surf and brought his whole squad on stage to mob out.
As with every Tory show I have ever seen, the set list always ends with “Diego”. At this point, the record is more of a live performance art piece than it is a Tory Lanez track. It’s the grand finale. It’s when Tory goes all out on his crowd surf. So at this point, Tory somehow managed to get the crowd to hoist him all the way up to the highest level of the venue (I wanna say it’s a three-story venue… but don’t quote me on that). He climbed up on to the balcony ledge and performed; looking down at the crowd from the highest lookout in the building. He eventually climbed back down and surfed back on to the stage to end his set.
Photography by Sarah Jay