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Tyler the Creator's alter ego, Igor, was the true star of the show. See more photos of Tyler the Creator's performance here.
Tyler the Creator's alter ego, Igor, was the true star of the show. See more photos of Tyler the Creator's performance here.
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Tyler the Creator's Igor Character Took Center Stage at the American Airlines Arena

Tyler the Creator’s Igor arrived in Miami in more ways than one Sunday night. As a character, Igor took the stage in place of Tyler Okonma as the focal point and true headliner of the concert. The show represented the artist's first headlining arena date in South Florida. As an album, Igor arrived as the predominant source of material performed throughout the night and proved itself to be perhaps Tyler the Creator's strongest work to date.

Igor, released in May of this year, was yet another artistic leap forward for Tyler the Creator, becoming his first No. 1 debut on the Billboard charts. Sunday’s show, a stop on the tour in support of that record, was Tyler’s second set in Miami this year after a February appearance headlining III Points. Though the Triple A show didn't boast the A$AP Rocky collaboration that Tyler's III Points set did, it was certainly more creatively daring.

Jaden Smith’s opening set was, much like his music, all hype with very little substance. The rapper and son of Will Smith had no trouble engaging the young crowd, especially the hyperactive floor section, but did little to rise above frivolous stunts like taking a buzzer to his hair onstage and donning a ski mask to “shoot a music video onstage.”

Though the show was billed as “sold out” and the crowd in the arena was undeniably fervent, the entire upper tier of seats was curtained off, leading one to wonder what really constitutes a “sold out” show at the American Airlines Arena these days.

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When it came time for Tyler’s headlining set, he took the stage in character as Igor, complete with sunglasses and a blond, bowl-cut wig. He calmly strolled to the center of the stage and stood still in front of a minimal backdrop as “Igor’s Theme” played. As the song culminated in a cacophony of drums and synthesizers, he broke his stillness with violent dancing and a few screams into the microphone.

Tyler the Creator's fans aren't sick of the old Tyler just yet. See more photos of Tyler the Creator's performance here.
Tyler the Creator's fans aren't sick of the old Tyler just yet. See more photos of Tyler the Creator's performance here.
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

“Igor’s Theme” was the first of the six straight tracks from Igor that opened the show, signaling just how much Tyler would be relying on his most recent record throughout the night.

He showed off some impressive musicality early in the set, beginning “Earfquake” by playing a piano stationed at the back of the stage, letting the crowd sing along to the chords before the song truly started. It was perhaps the most surprising moment of the night and one that endeared him to the already adoring crowd.

Equally unexpected was the dearth of material from Tyler’s earlier records, with not a single track from his 2015 album, Cherry Bomb, making it onto the setlist. In fact, only four tracks released before his last album, Flower Boy, made it into the set. Those selections, “IFHY,” “Tamale,” “Yonkers,” and “She,” elicited some of the strongest reactions of the night. The crowd loved the new material, but they aren’t sick of the old Tyler just yet.

But for all intents and purposes, the Igor Tour proved to be just that: a show about Tyler's alter ego. Tyler the Creator ripped through ten of the 12 tracks on Igor and stayed in character for the entirety of the show, breaking only once to tell the crowd that he’s finally grown to like Miami after all these years.

In all, the meticulously designed show proved to be yet another step forward for Tyler the Creator as he continues to level up as an artist. 

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