Concert Review: Logic at Echo Beach in Toronto

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Over the past month, this show went from being one of the most anticipated concerts of the summer to becoming an uphill battle to satisfy disappointed fans.  It was supposed to be two of the biggest Hip-Hop artists under the age of 30 teaming up to co-headline what was being promoted as both Logic’s Everybody’s Tour and Joey Bada$$’ All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$ Tour, with Toronto being the last North American stop before they head to Europe.  Logic and Joey Bada$$ haven’t interacted much in terms of studio recordings, but as individual artists they’ve had such similar career trajectories and levels of success, both having a strong 2017 between Logic’s third studio album, Everybody, and Joey’s sophomore ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$.  It would have been epic seeing them bring their fans together for a unique experience, but after making it through most of the U.S., the tour fell apart.

During the final stretch of the North American leg of the tour, several shows including Toronto were cancelled or postponed when Joey Bada$$ supposedly damaged his eyes by looking at the solar eclipse without protection.  This may have just been publicity though, as Logic was invited to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards during this same time, and the high-profile appearance gave his song “1-800-273-8255” a huge boost in sales, making it his first ever chart-topping hit.  Things seemed to be working out for the best, as a new date for the concert was set a month later, and Joey Bada$$ looked to be giving Toronto two shows by also co-headlining Ryerson University’s Sundown Festival a week before the rescheduled tour date.  Just one day before the concert though, the set times were emailed to the fans, and Joey Bada$$ was not on the schedule.

Toronto took an L with this one, as fans had to decide one day before the concert whether to get a refund and miss seeing an incredible performance by Logic, or go to the show knowing they were only getting one headliner for the price of two.  24 hours after the concert, and fans still haven’t received an explanation as to why Joey Bada$$ was removed from the lineup at the last minute, even though he was able to make it to Sundown Festival a week prior.  While some fans refunded or sold their tickets, many still came out to fill up Echo Beach on what was the first night of actual chilly fall weather in the city, after having an entire week of 30-degree highs.  The majority of the fans looked to be teenagers, many of whom could be overheard talking about how excited they were for their very first rap concert; clearly Joey’s absence didn’t kill their vibe.

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The show started off with a half hour set by Big Lenbo, who’s made guest appearances on Logic’s two most recent albums.  Besides these guest features, I wasn’t familiar with any of his songs, but he easily got the crowd jumping with bouncy beats and a smooth delivery.  With singer Damian Lemar Hudson as his hypeman, Big Lenbo slayed his verses, flowing perfectly in-pocket with a strong 90’s vibe to his songs.  Damian showed off his rapping skills too, at one point spitting a rapid-fire freestyle verse over Future’s “Mask Off.”  The duo brought a ton of energy out of the crowd, giving a dope, raw Hip-Hop performance.

Next would be Logic’s tour DJ, Rhetorik, doing what he said might be one of his last DJ sets ever.  He spun a wide range of songs, mostly playing newer Hip-Hop tracks from Drake, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, but also touching on older tracks by Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Ludacris, and Snoop Dogg.  Rhetorik also broke down the difference between album Logic and mixtape Logic, playing several songs from Logic’s mixtapes released before he signed to Def Jam, as well as some album cuts he wouldn’t be performing during his set. He did a solid job keeping the fans engaged for forty minutes until it was time for Logic’s headlining set.

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Logic has toured and performed in Toronto for each of his three albums, and this show was definitely his biggest one yet.  While I wasn’t there for last year’s Incredible World Tour, I can say he definitely turned everything up a few notches since his 2015 Under Pressure Tour, with a full video display on the screen behind him and a couple multi-instrumentalists joining him and DJ Rhetorik on stage.  His set started just as his new Everybody album starts, diving right into the first song “Hallelujah.”  The up-tempo beat got the entire crowd jumping from the beginning, as Logic nailed both his sung vocals and rapid-fire verses.

He took some time to spread his word of peace, love and positivity, telling the crowd to treat each other like family as they turned up for a good time.  Continuing with the Everybody album, he performed the title track next, with the album art on display on the big screen.  Next he’d perform “Killing Spree,” with DJ Rhetorik looping the beat so Logic could spit his verse twice and get more energy out of the crowd, and then got into some tracks off his previous album,  The Incredible True Story.  Slaying his rapid-fire verses without a hypeman, Logic kept the crowd energized with “Fade Away” and “Like Woah” before pausing for some comedy.

After doing a comedy routine with his assistant that involved a Michael Jackson impression, Logic then showed off his insane breath control by spitting a speedy verse over MJ’s “Billie Jean,” all with just one breath.  He engaged the crowd again, getting everyone to chant along to the chorus of “Super Mario World,” with footage from the old Nintendo game playing on the big screen.  Logic then got back to the new album, performing “Take It Back” before bringing Big Lenbo back out on stage for the politically charged “America.”  Lenbo of course stayed on stage to perform what might be my favourite Logic song, “Young Jesus.”  Logic would try to make Big Lenbo laugh during his verses, in turn causing himself to laugh as he changed up some lyrics to point out a couple making out in the crowd.

If there’s one thing that’s remained the same from the last time I saw Logic perform in 2015, it’s the way he interacts with the crowd.  Not only does he pause to make funny observations, but he’ll also spend time giving individual fans their special moment, getting them to tell him their name and age, and even getting the crowd to sing Happy Birthday if a fan could prove with their ID that it was their birthday.  At one point he even accepted a fan’s challenge to solve a Rubik’s cube just like last time, except this time he really showed off by solving it behind his back.

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Big Lenbo got to perform one more of his solo tracks before leaving the stage, and Logic regained control with the song “Anziety,” following it up with a speech about overcoming mental health issues similar to the one he does on the album.  By this point, Logic had performed songs off of EverybodyThe Incredible True Story, and even his Bobby Tarantino mixtape, but he had yet to perform anything off of his 2014 major-label debut album, Under Pressure.  Daring the fans to spend one whole song without touching their smartphones, he got into an energetic performance of the title track off that debut album, getting the crowd to wave their arms and bounce.  He then let DJ Rhetorik test the crowd’s energy by getting everyone to jump to Busta Rhymes’ “Pass The Courvoisier” and getting different sections of the crowd to scream.

Using a similar technique to what Method Man & Redman do at their shows, Logic got the crowd to scream for as long as they could, leading him into his song “I Am The Greatest.”  While he tends to borrow a lot from the greats, Logic made a point to take some time to give a shoutout to Drake in his home city, thanking him for making the melodic combination of singing and rapping cool in Hip-Hop.  He then brought back out singer Damian Lemar Hudson to perform their song together, “Black Spiderman,” getting the crowd to sing with Damian.  After calling Toronto the “hypest city in the world,” Damian went back stage as Logic continued with another Bobby Tarantino track, “Flexicution.”

Logic briefly left the stage, but the crowd chanted him back, and everyone mellowed out as he performed his platinum-selling single, “1-800-273-8255.”  The crowd vibed to the emotional track, as Logic gave another uplifting speech about mental health to close it out.  He then did one last energetic performance of “Confess,” pausing between verses to get the crowd to scream on command, and throwing imaginary balls of energy at one of his keyboardists, who would burst out singing whenever Logic hit him.  The entire band would then leave the stage, but the crowd chanted for an encore, making them return.

Having full control of the crowd, Logic started his encore by getting everyone to scream on command again, this time leading into a performance of the last song off of Everybody, “AfricAryaN.”  He then did a throwback off of his debut album, the fan-favourite “Gang Related.”  After performing the song in full, Logic dared a fan who knew the lyrics to join him on stage for a chance to win an autographed hat.  He picked a 15-year-old fan out of the crowd, and gave her the most memorable concert experience of her life, letting her rap the second verse to “Gang Related” with him.  She straight up nailed it, to the point that Logic upped the anti and offered to sign every item from his merch booth for her if she could keep up with him on the fast part of the verse, accapella.  She of course killed it, and the crowd chanted her name as Logic walked off stage with her.

By the end of the concert, the frustration with Joey Bada$$ bailing on the show was a distant memory.  Logic rocked the stage for nearly two hours, and made it a memorable experience for many of his young fans.  While most of the fans were energetic teenagers, there were also some parents with younger kids in the crowd, and it speaks to Logic’s artistry the way he’s able to appeal to all demographics.  It also speaks to how Hip-Hop as a whole is maturing, to the point where parents feel comfortable bringing their kids to a concert.  While Logic’s upcoming fourth album is rumoured to be his last, he did hint that he wanted to start branching out to different types of music, and so it will be interesting to see where his career takes him over the next few years.

 

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