In 2018 Denzel Curry released TA1300, which is arguably one of the greatest bodies of work to enter the rap genre. The album touched on intricate subject matters in songs that were sonically tuned to near perfection.

Curry’s ability to simultaneously cement himself as a hardened emcee whilst also carrying great commercial success had many fans speculating on what he would produce in 2019. They were not let down. In May 2019, Curry released another spectacular album — ZUU — and went on tour with one of the biggest musicians in the world: Billie Eilish. 

Eilish’s tour, When We All Fall Asleep, made a stop in Toronto shortly after the release of ZUU, with Curry performing as the opening act. I experienced his artistry firsthand. The tour took place at Budweiser Stage; a big venue, necessary to contain the fully sold out crowd waiting to hear Curry and Eilish. 

The venue and stage design were effective. The large screens planted on stage were able to incorporate Denzel Curry’s ‘trippy’ visuals, a technique he has used since his early albums and EPs — adding subtle nostalgia to his performance.

The set began with hard hitting tracks from ZUU such as “RICKY,” which seamlessly transferred into TA1300 classics like “SUMO | ZUMO,” and then ended with his breakthrough track “ULTIMATE.” 

This was perhaps the most exceptional aspect of his performance because it was enjoyed by both fans of Denzel Curry and those few who attended the tour just to see Billie Eilish.  

Time and again since his tour, Curry has proved that his music is different from that of his peers. For instance, TA1300 was largely centred around the pain, confusion, and paranoia of being a young star. ZUU, on the other hand, can be seen as an ode and love letter to Carol City, Curry’s home neighbourhood. 

Both were centred on different topics and incorporated different musical styles and influences. Using his wide range of pieces, Curry managed to showcase both ear-friendly hits and the more cult-appreciated ballads. Ultimately, what this translated to was fans all the way from general admission to seats on the lawn having an enjoyable time as Curry went about his stage antics. 

Curry is a natural-born performer, as illustrated by the visuals from the show. He successfully measured and matched his energy to that of the audience. He dove headfirst into the crowd, jumping off the stage to interact with the audience as much as possible. Never before have I seen an artist at an arena interact with the crowd as much as Denzel Curry did. 

The When We All Fall Asleep tour can quite possibly go down as one of the greatest tours in history. It is rare to see two world-renowned headlining artists go on tour with one another. This most likely would not have happened if Curry and Eilish were not close friends. It resulted in an amazing experience for the crowd. Denzel Curry’s performance particularly made it indubitable that when the time for his headlining arena tour arises, it will certainly be one not to miss. 

Rating: 4.5/5 

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