This past Wednesday, I had the opportunity to see A$AP Ferg at the Tabernacle in Atlanta. I’ve seen him in the past a few times before, but only at festivals. In 2016, I saw him in Atlanta at Shaky Beats, One Music Fest, and lastly in Philly at Made in America. Typically when you see an artist at a festival the vibe is slightly different than seeing them on their own tour. Since the crowds can differ so much at festivals, you just might be standing next to someone who has no idea who the artists is, and really is only there for someone from a whole different genre. Since this was my first time seeing him on a tour he’d be headlining I was excited.
Now let’s get into the different aspects of the show…
The Tabernacle is easily my favorite venue for concerts in the city of Atlanta. With a capacity of 2,600, it is big enough to house artists with good followings, but it is small enough to have an intimate show. The venue has a large pit, as well as seats, which are ordinarily general admission which allows you to choose where you want to either sit or stand. Sometimes, they will fill the pit with seats and sell specific seat locations, but this will often happen for comedy shows.
This was a great venue for his people to choose because Ferg had grown to a considerably familiar artist in the hip-hop community. It’s also slightly nostalgic for me because a long time ago I went to his rap brother A$AP Rocky’s show here. For the longest I considered that to be one of my favorite concerts of all-time because the energy was so contagious the whole night. That was even the first, and only time, I got the chance to crowd-surf. In my opinion, Ferg couldn’t have chosen a better venue.
Even though it wasn’t Ferg, I had been to an A$AP show before. Like I said before, I had already seen A$AP Rocky back in the day so I knew the type of crowd to expect. It was mostly college-aged kids of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Although the floor was packed by the time Ferg came out, I noticed that the venue wasn’t as packed as I initially perceived it to be. I looked up to see the third floor (second level of seats) sectioned off by a black curtain, which only left the second level (first level of seats) and the floor open. Even though that third section wasn’t open, the rest of the venue filled up rather well.
What I loved about A$AP shows is that their crowds were known to bring the energy, and this show was no different. From the beginning to the end of Ferg’s performance, the crowd was on 10 and brought a considerable amount of energy. With these kind of crowds, being in the pit can almost be a hazard because you never know when the crowd will break out into a mosh pit. Even still, the crowd looks out for everybody.
I know that because I was one of those moshers last night. I don’t know if this was the best idea because I have a terrible center of gravity and horrible balance, and that was almost my demise last night. In the middle of a mosh pit, I toppled over and thought “this was it.” In my mind I thought it was only a matter of time before I get stepped on or fell on by another group of people. But within seconds of falling, two people snatched me up and brought me back to life. Even though it was small gesture, it let me know that the crowd lived by the motto, peace, love and A$AP.
The Stage (setup):
Ferg’s stage was fairly simple, but very interesting at the same time. The stage was made up of a large screen that sat behind him and portrayed different images and videos throughout the concert. On the outside of the stage, to the left and right, there were sets of bright lights that illuminated the stage. Lastly, there were two animatronic arms positioned immediately to the left and right of the middle section of the stage. At first I thought these were just for decoration, but that changed as the show went on.
On specific songs, Ferg would turn and face the arms and perform like he was rapping to them. When he turned to them they would project a video of him rapping, but the way the video was portrayed on the screen was so fascinating.
Later in his performance he would gesture for the crowd to bounce their hands up and down to increase the energy. When he did this, the arms would mimic his actions in the same motion. This was also very interesting and different.
Although, the makeup of his stage was simple, I felt that those intricate details were great for the show. Also, the fact that there wasn’t much clutter on the stage allowed him to freely go to each side of the stage and exude his full energy throughout the show.
The Song Choice:
Toward the end of the summer, Ferg dropped a mixtape called “Still Striving.” This was a high-energy project full of features with everybody from Cam’Ron to Lil’ Yachty on it. I had grown to become a consistent supporter of A$AP Ferg, so when it dropped, I was listening to it that night. Based on the first couple of listens, I was happy but not completely sold on the project. The singles were A1, but the rest felt just ok to me.
Over time, I kept listening and the project grew on me for sure. Also, taking into the fact that he considered it a mixtape and not an album gave me a different perspective as I continued to listen (check out his explanation of a mixtape vs. an album here).
Now to the concert. Most of the songs he performed, as expected, were from his new project. He started off slow and increased the energy throughout the night. By the end, he had performed a song from each of his major projects. The setlist also included songs that he made with the A$AP Mob or those that he was featured on as well. I felt that he chose a representative setlist that touched all aspects of his rapping style.
Overall, I was very happy with the song choice throughout the show. The only thing I wish he would’ve changed is the slower songs that he performed. Both songs he performed that were on the slower side (Nandos & Tango) were off his most recent project “Still Striving.” Although I don’t have a problem with either song, I would’ve liked for him to add or replace the song Tango with “Beautiful People,” which was featured on his last album “Always Strive and Prosper,” and has a very welcoming vibe. I felt that this would’ve drove home the peace, love, and A$AP motto.
Ferg stepped out on the stage around 10:20 pm in a high fashion version all-white 90s style track suit. It was only right that the proclaimed “Hood Pope” came out in something fashionable after being the cover boy for different brands like Calvin Klein and Alexander Wang.
Although his performance started off with little movement on stage and decent energy, as he went through the night, he increased each aspect of his performance. During the early portion of his show, he made sure to interact with the crowd by going through and high-fiving everybody while rapping the words to each song. This was also where I first saw the purpose of the arms on the stage that I previously mentioned.
When performing Nando’s, his third song, Ferg would turn away from the crowd and would face the arms. At first, I was confused and wondering why he would be facing away from the crowd while performing. I soon noticed that there were cameras attached to these arms. Once the screen behind the stage projected a video of him performing, I realized their purpose. This was a nice surprise and the fact that the quality was exceptional, made it that much better.
At this point, the energy started to increase. Once he presented the crowd with this level of energy, it didn’t decrease for the rest of the night.
When he hit the fourth song in his set, “Coach Cartier”, the energy in the crowd began to erupt. By this time, you could visibly see the crowd jumping and really interacting with the artist. If you’ve ever been to an A$AP show, you know how the crowd rolls; moshing and crowd-surfing is typical. At one point in the show the crowd parted like the Red Sea. There was now a large gap in the middle of the crowd spanning from the front of the stage to the back of the crowd which built anticipation for the start of the next song. Once the beat dropped, the whole crowd went crazy and joined back together in a large mosh. I personally love this because I think it increases the energy and fun-factor of the show. At this point you could tell Ferg began to feed off the energy of the crowd.
As the show began to come towards the end, Ferg began to tap into his most well-known songs such as Work, New Level, and Shabba. By this point everybody in the venue was going crazy, including Ferg. I found myself twisting and turning more than ever before while amongst the mosh pit in the middle of the floor. These were my favorite songs of his, so my adrenaline was pumping, and I was having the time of my life…until I found myself at the bottom of the mosh due to my horrible balance. Luckily, I was saved by a couple of guys that saved me from being toppled.
Once I got up, I realized I was now at the front of the pit, which was great. I was so close that I was now one of the people who could high five the artist, but I decided to take a step back and have some space to breathe.
To end the show, Ferg performed out his current most popular song, “Plain Jane”, which was easily the most exciting portion of the show. After his last song, Ferg made sure to express his love for the crowd, then ended the show with the mob’s motto, Peace Love and A$AP. This was a great way to end the show, or so we thought.
After he had walked off the stage, music began to play, but we couldn’t tell which song it was. After a few seconds we heard an artist that sounded unfamiliar. Low and behold, it was Slim Jimmy from the rap group Rae Sremmurd. The crowd erupted welcoming the Mississippi Native as he performed a shortened version of “No Type,” one of the biggest songs from his group. He also performed one of his solo songs before exiting the stage. Right after Slim Jimmy finished his songs, Ferg and the artists who opened for him, Denzel Curry and IDK, came back out to perform their song “Kristi YamaGucci.” This brought the show to an end.
Earlier, I referenced a time before where I went to see A$AP Rocky in the same location and how it was one of the best times I’ve ever had at a concert. After experiencing Ferg in the same venue, I have to say, this is easily in that same category. The energy throughout the show, the fact that it was at my favorite venue in Atlanta, and even the openers, all worked in a concerted manner to make this an amazing show. If you’re interested, I would definitely recommend going to an A$AP Ferg show!