Block Party

Travis Scott gives Syracuse University students "goosebumps" at Block Party

The rapper, along with ZHU and AlunaGeorge, energized the crowds at the Carrier Dome Friday night.

The "Antidote" for the end of Syracuse University students' Mayfest celebration was rapper Travis Scott's well-received performance at the Carrier Dome on Friday night.

The plantium-selling recording artist headlined University Union's annual spring concert Block Party, featuring electronic duo AlunaGeorge and electronic producer and singer ZHU.

AlunaGeorge kicked off the night, warming up the crowd for what was an unforgettable few hours.

The duo smoothly transitioned through its bevy of hits, such as “You Know You Like It”, the featuring work the two did on Disclosure’s “White Noise” and even played their unexpected collaboration with rap duo Rae Sremmurd, “One Touch” for the adoring audience.

Photo: Austin Henry Wallace
Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge performs at Block Party.

ZHU followed AlunaGeorge’s noteworthy opening set. Best known for his 2014 hit “Faded”, ZHU’s neon oriented set displayed an incredible blend of live music aspects as well as a visual futuristic tech aspect, which is fitting and a testament to the vibe his music generally gives off. 

The crowd of thousands sang and danced throughout ZHU’s set, but there was still a certain anticipation in the air that something bigger and wilder than anything those students had ever experienced at the Dome was standing just a few hundred feet behind the closed curtain blocking off a view of the rest of the football field.

As soon as ZHU’s set ended, one could feel the tension in the air rising with students waiting anxiously just to at least get a bird's eye view of the one they call “La Flame”.

A short while after ZHU left the stage, there was a sudden silence that crept over the audience. Once the eerie, dramatic beginning chords of Travis Scott’s “The Ends” began blaring through the Dome sound system, that silence turned into an eruption of cheers, screams and smartphones getting flung into the air. 

The Houston rapper proceeded to put on a performance unlike one the Dome or SU has ever seen before. Despite early concerns due to Scott’s notorious reputation for being a reckless performer, University Union staff members said they had full faith in his ability to deliver a 110 percent effort performance while also abiding by the school’s safety protocol.

“University Union knew that getting a performer like Travis for an environment such as the Dome would be a perfect fit in terms of vibes and energy,” Noah Rosenberg, a freshman UU member said. “You could really almost feel the school coming more together with every hit that he played, and that’s honestly the most special thing a performer can do for an audience.”

Midway through his set, Scott proceeded to venture into the 100 level section of the Dome to share some more personal moments with the crowd for a few of his songs, a sight that many concertgoers never even thought they would see in all their years attending shows at SU.

Scott stood on a barricade in the middle of a 100 level section packed with adoring students and performed two of his hits, “Pick Up the Phone” (ft. Young Thug) and his platinum selling single “Antidote”.

Concertgoers described the atmosphere as one that has yet to be experienced at the Carrier Dome. Nick Sabatino, a senior and avid Travis Scott fan, likened the atmosphere at the show to that of a men’s basketball game, minus the court storming and heartbreaking finishes.

“Being that I’m actually from Syracuse, I’ve been going to the Dome for basketball games and concerts for basically my whole life, and I have never seen an atmosphere like the one I just saw,” Sabatino said.

Through all the platinum hits and commercial success, every artist has their humble beginnings. Travis Scott did not fail to recognize that by acknowledging midway through his set that this was his first time in Syracuse in over five years. The last time he performed in central New York it was opening for what is now a few much smaller acts than the magnitude of reputation that Scott has been able to create over such a short period of time.

Scott closed his set with some of his current hits like “Goosebumps” and even performed his featured part on international superstar Drake’s hit “Portland.” Before leaving the stage, Scott took a moment to peer into the crowd, as if he was taking in his final glimpses of what was turned out to be an absolutely legendary night at the Dome.

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