Back in February, an email from Live Nation Concerts appeared in my inbox. This happens when nearby concerts are announced, usually in the form of a "message" from the touring artist. In this case, the email subject revealed, it was "A Note from Post Malone," the 22-year-old white rapper from Grapevine, Texas who's really having a moment right now. The entirety of the note: "Turn up boiiii."
On June 15, on the heels of his sophomore album, Beerbongs & Bentleys, Post Malone—aka Austin Richard Post, as he reminded fans—rolled into The Woodlands' Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, about four hours south of his Dallas suburb hometown. It might as well have been Grapevine, though, given the level of fanatic reception, as evidenced by the lowest going ticket price: $129, for lawn seats. Here's what happened next.
1. He gave an unexpectedly excellent performance.
Say what you will about the young man—face tattoos and all, who says things like, "It's true drinkin' will kill ya, but if you're drunk you don't care"—but he's an undeniably talented live performer. Even I, a bona fide Post Malone fan, was surprised by how good he sounded as he worked his way through his repertoire, cigarette in hand, effortlessly weaving back and forth between rapping and singing in the genre non-conforming way that's earned him legions of fans and critical acclaim. For "Feeling Whitney," his melancholy reflection on a relationship with drugs, he busted out an acoustic guitar—and held his own—only, in true Post Malone fashion, to smash it later (see No. 4).
2. Tour-mate 21 Savage was a no-show.
Atlanta rapper 21 Savage, Post's chart-topping collaborator for "Rockstar" and tour-mate, did not grace the stage, a fact that went more or less unacknowledged. In the absence of an official explanation, we're forced to speculate. Our hypotheses include: 1) The hullabaloo reported by TMZ five days prior, when 21 Savage allegedly pulled a gun at a pool party (no chill), had legal ramifications that kept the young rapper otherwise occupied; and 2) Shortly after posting the above image on Instagram–the morning of the show–21 Savage was sadly mauled by the baby tiger he'd just bottle fed on the tour bus. This theory holds weight, particularly because it remains the last photo he posted. Chilling.
3. Trae the Truth dropped by.
In 21 Savage's place stood Trae the Truth, a hometown hero, who's turned up at literally every hip-hop show we've attended since our move to Houston. Sometimes he's on the ticket, but most of the time he's not, which supports our other theory that any rappers visiting the greater Houston area are contractually obligated to give him stage time. Not that we're complaining.
4. Post smashed a guitar.
In true rockstar form, Post Malone destroyed a perfectly good instrument, something he's apparently taken to doing regularly now—the following night in Austin, he was joined in the act by WWE legend The Undertaker who proceeded to choke-slam him.
5. Post shouted out Bud Light.
Very on-brand, though we regret to inform at this time we were drinking Michelob.
6. The crowd railed against Post's ex-girlfriend.
Almost entirely white teenagers, the audience was incredibly quick to join in on an explicit chant to proclaim their hatred of Post Malone's ex—meanwhile, we refrained, declining to pass judgment on the young lady. Hate her as they might, fans can thank her for inspiring some of their favorite songs—like "I Fall Apart," which saw an emotional, compelling performance that might just be the standout of the night.
7. A fan vomited upon meeting him backstage.
Just kidding, that didn't really happen, but it's made the rounds on Twitter, so it might as well have. "It'll happen sooner or later," the original poster wrote in a subsequent tweet. Probably, yes.