by Deanna Klima-Rajchel
Photo courtesy of Kid Cudi's Facebook Page
For the first time in three years, Kid Cudi came to our city. By the end of the night, he was saying he "could do better for [his] Boston fans," promising to return as the crowd went wild.
Kid Cudi was on stage a total of two hours and pushed to energize the audience with every song, even the sad ones. The set list was original, not simply divided by old hits and the new album, Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven. Unlike a lot of artists, Cudi delivered all of his most popular songs without reserve. He even brought out his longtime friend King Chip to rap his intro to the 2012 song "Just What I Am." The new album’s heavy emphasis on punk was definitely present, but much less overwhelming than the first listen-through after it was released. Thrown in with past jams and played really, really loud, my opinion of Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven was completely changed. To the average fan, it became a bit hard to tell the difference between old and new. Cudi's emphasis on having fun and raging out made it hard to dislike the new sound. (In fact, the more I listen to the album now, the more I like it.)
I've only been to the House of Blues once before, on St. Patrick's Day 2015, for a Dropkick Murphys show. Not one much for being sandwiched between six people and thrown around the floor, I was hoping for a more mellow audience flocking to see Kid Cudi. Sadly, that was not the case, but the Kid did just about everything to make it bearable. There was a 10-minute intermission about a half an hour into the show at the height of the floor's raging. The momentum was somewhat lost, but it was helpful to have a few moments to breathe.
Easily the most important aspect of the “lonely stoner's” show was the sincerity pouring out of him. Standing in the audience, you could feel the love flowing between the artist and the crowd. The man behind the music and the hype came out for his fans. At one point, he stopped the concert just to speak about how much he loved everyone that supports him. The themes of his music (isolation, depression, uncertainty) could be seen in his performance. Cudi was emotionally present and raw in a way that is hard to come by. The connection he made with his fans, the "kids just like him" (as he calls them in “Mr. Rager”) was unlike any concert I've seen before.
The downside: there was a lot of waiting. Waiting outside in the cold, waiting by the door to be patted down, waiting in the venue for the concert to start (he has been habitually coming on a half an hour later than show time) and then waiting for the intermission to end. Heck, Boston had to wait two extra months for the tour, as Cudi cancelled the original date for personal reasons, but the wait was entirely worth it. For the last three songs of the set, the Kid gave away close to 20 shirts and proceeded to stay an extra 15 minutes after the last song to sign things for the audience. This gesture was so unexpected; fans threw up anything that they had with them, including shoes, cellphones, hats, tickets and even a cast on a man's arm.
Being at the show as part of a gift for my significant other (who is a much bigger fan than I am), I was moved in ways I did not expect. Days later, I still find myself singing in my head and reliving the energy in the House of Blues that night. Without a doubt, I would see Cudi again. I would recommend the show to anyone who's ever felt left out, misunderstood, or painfully human. Kid Cudi, continue to do you.
The Especial Tour runs the rest of this month, ending in San Francisco on February 26.