A slimmer Kevin Gates took the stage at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston last night, beginning a memorable performance and bringing a fan literally to his knees.
S Dot and Rod Wave took care of opening the show while singer/rapper YK Osiris followed, ramping up the energy needed to set the table for Gates. The Jacksonville, Florida native Osiris shot his way to the charts after a number of breakout hits and a remix by Lil Uzi Vert. His performance last night gave the crowd a chance to experience him first hand both figuratively and in the literal sense.
After performing on stage for a bit and bringing in Worcester’s Joyner Lucas—who hopped off of the stage and performed while walking through the aisles—for a guest verse, Osiris set his sights for the one-on-one fan experience. The shirtless Osiris made his way to the middle of the venue’s floor section and performed for a bit while the crowd held him up.
The excitement and anticipation for the Louisiana-native Kevin Gates was omnipresent at the Orpheum Theater in Boston. With just about every one of the 2,700 seats filled all that was left was one more spot to be filled—Gates on stage. “This is my first concert ever,” Jimmi [last name ommitted], who was attending with his girlfriend Megan, said. When asked what took him long, he said Gates is one of his favorite artists and he didn’t have an opportunity to see him any of the other times Gates came around. Last night was special for Jimmi.
Get ‘Em Gates!
First out was Gates’ official DJ, BWA Ron, who is also the biological brother of the “Really Really” rapper. He perched himself at the top of a three-piece giant LED setup, playing songs and prepping the crowd ready for the main event. The lights dimmed and a noticeably slimmer and fit Gates ran out from behind the LEDs to an explosion of screaming fans with enough cell phone lights pointed at him to create a spotlight.
Gates performed with synchronized lighting, screens and CO2 cannons blasting smoke high enough to reach the second balcony at the Theatre. While performing a number of songs off of his latest, Billboard chart-topping release I’m Him, he would have been remiss to not perform some of the songs that helped him get to where he is. Having been in prison longer than he’s been out—in and out since he was 13—Gates said he doesn’t regret anything he’s done because it’s the reason he’s able to do what he’s doing now.
Tracks from Luca Brasi, Islah, I’m Him and more blasted through the speakers while Gates fully performed certain tracks or only spit a verse. Songs like “Satellites,” “Me Too,” “Facts,” and more set the scene for Gates’ night. He dedicated “By My Lonely” to the late Speaker Knockerz, told a bit of the story explaining why he has a star tattoo on his face and overall let his fans into his life that he expresses through his music.
Rather than the night having the same feeling that normally plagues hip-hop concerts—no energy from the artist, non-instrumental background music, poor setup and the like—Gates pulled out all of his stops. New-look Gates brought out the most energetic performance I can remember from a hip-hop show in a while. Not only did he perform his music, but he took the time out to interact with the crowd and give them personal anecdotes.
The Personalized Experience
At one point Gates talked about how he always tries to make it a point to show his number one fans love. At that point, he pulled two fans on stage telling them that it isn’t the time to be scared; it ended up being Jimmi and his girlfriend Megan. Gates allowed Jimmi to speak for a bit about how much Gates has meant to him and in doing so Jimmi mentioned his admiration for his girlfriend.
Jimmi dropped to a knee and proposed to his girlfriend (she said “Yes”). Gates and the newly-engaged couple exchanged hugs and they exited the stage, becoming their own celebrities as they maneuvered their way back to their seats.
In the crowd, there was a mix of young, old, blind, folks with disabilities and even a dog. At one point, I heard someone yell “You saved my life!”
Gates touches everyone whether he knows it or not.