The line was over three blocks long just to enter The Armory. Thousands of excited fans waited outside to see Juice WRLD, in the Twin Cities for his Death Race for Love Tour.
As I entered the building, I had a quick chat with one of the employees. “For Minneapolis”, he said, “and especially Minnesota- you can’t get much better than the experience at The Armory.” I can’t say he was wrong. The structure was built for the Minnesota National Guard in the 30’s, and the uber-high ceilings and the airplane-hangar-like feel give off an incredible initial feeling of awe. With a capacity of around 8000, the place was packed.
Unique Artists = Unique Setlists
The setlist for this show was a bit different: After Yung Bans played his set at 8, Juice WRLD went on to play his first set at 9. Then, Ski Mask the Slump God had his set at 9:30. Then Juice came back on at 10 for his second set. For many artists, two sets seem like overkill. But based on the amount of hits Juice has racked up, it was probably the best way to go about it. In fact, the setup worked perfectly. The crowd got to taste a bit of Juice WRLD, go crazy with Slump, and then get a fresh finish with Juice.
Juice WRLD the Rockstar
The presentation was impressive from the beginning. Massive amounts of smoke, lights and video made the show entertaining from simply an effects standpoint. Walking onto the stage for the first time, Juice WRLD was a giant. His presence was huge, and the crowd felt it immediately. The roar of thousands sent waves through the venue. And All I could think was this guy is an absolute rockstar.
It didn’t feel like a traditional hip-hop/rap show, which is understandable considering Juice is anything but traditional. Hailing from Chicago, his musical influences come from everywhere: 90s punk, 2000s pop, contemporary hip-hop, etc.
He used his first set on stage to give the crowd a few hits from his newest album, including an incredible performance of “Make Believe”, in which Juice bellowed out some impressive vocals. The crowd loved it. I caught myself thinking, He might actually sound better live. He also performed “Maze,” also off of Death Race for Love, which was a crowd favorite.
It’s Ski Mask Season
The floor- the actual floor- was bouncing even before Ski entered the stage. The energy in the building was already through the roof. The audience heard a booming, sinister voice ask, “You wanted a special friend to join Juice? The wish was granted!” The first few songs were an absolute blur. The crowd was going nuts, mirroring Ski going bonkers on the stage. Notably, he played his hit “Foot Fungus” off his newest album Stokeley, to which the audience helped him by repeatedly yelling out skrttttt to go along with the chorus.
Ski gave the crowd a break by playing a slower song, “So High”, another off Stokeley, while water bottles were passed around the barricade of humans up front. With no time to waste, Ski got the crowd jumping again with his massive hit “Faucet Failure”. Ski’s comical bars and unique delivery make him very entertaining. And with lines like, Who’s this? He should be in cockpit, uh/ ‘Cause I’m flyer than a fuckin’ ostrich, uh (okay), it’s hard not to have fun.
Next came a tribute to the late Xxxtentacion, a good friend of Ski’s who was also from Florida. The chorus of “Take a Step Back” is almost exclusively comprised of the words “fucked” and “up”. Ski ordered the crowd to make “as many mosh pits as possible,” and the crowd loved it. To finish off his set, Ski invited Juice WRLD to join him on stage for their hit track “Nuketown,” which was a fantastic way to end Ski’s set and introduce Juice back onto the stage for his second and final performance.
Second Coming of Juice
It was immediately quite clear that this set, the second set, was going to be used to showcase Juice’s massive accumulation of hits. First came “Wasted”, a catchy track featuring Lil Uzi from his debut album Goodbye and Good Riddance. Next came radio hit “Fine China”, to which the audience knew all the words. If the crowd had lost any energy, they regained it and more with this track. Next came more heavy hitters: Platinum single “Lean Wit Me” (which may have been the best performance of the night) and chart-topping single “All Girls are the Same”. One thing that is very impressive about Juice’s discography is that if it ended here, with these songs, the audience would be satisfied. If he walked off the stage, the crowd would be content.
But he had more!
His next track, “Robbery”, sounded ten times better live than not. It went from a blubbery, sadboi song (albeit a good one) to an even better, colossal, emphatic anthem. Definitely helps having thousands sing along with you. On top of that, Juice added a fantastic never-before-heard verse, much to the crowd’s delight. Multiple times I thought to myself, There’s more? What am I missing? only to be blessed with another hit. That next hit was the chart-topping, award winning single “Lucid Dreams”. Juice sang out through the sea of camera phone lights, framed on stage by beams of color and billowing smoke. Quite an amazing moment to be in the crowd. Finally, to top it all off, he ended by singing his chorus on Astroworld‘s chart-topper, “No Bystanders”.
Before he left the stage, he brought everyone back out for one last performance. A energetic group and a surprise freestyle from Juice was a great way to emphatically end the show. Then, everything went dark except for a screen above:
Death Race for Love: Thank you for playing.
Live Juice WRLD is Best Juice WRLD
The performances from Juice WRLD and Ski Mask were very impressive. The two looked like they were having a ton of fun on stage, and that energy carried out to the audience. Hearing Juice WRLD live is something completely new. Seriously, he’s a rockstar and he can really sing. From what I was hearing around me, the crowd agreed. The order of the sets was great, the energy and effects were on point, and Juice’s vocals blew me away. This was one of my favorite concerts of the year. If you can go see him live, don’t hesitate. You’ll get your money’s worth and more.