Young Thug’s headlining Blowout set starts late, ends early


Jeffrey Wang/Daily Senior Staffer

Rapper Young Thug performs during A&O Blowout on Friday.

Gabby Grossman, Reporter

A&O Blowout headliner Young Thug’s set was cut short Friday night, after the rapper arrived more than an hour later than organizers planned.

After Kehlani — the show’s opening act — finished her set, the stage was empty for more than an hour, during which time roughly a quarter of the audience left Welsh-Ryan Arena. A&O co-chair Will Corvin said the rapper’s flight was delayed due to weather.

“That was out of our control,” said Corvin, a Weinberg senior.

Young Thug, whose legal name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, was expected to take the stage at 9 p.m., A&O Street Team member Alec D’Alelio said. But it wasn’t until about 10:30 p.m. that the rapper’s DJ began setting up his equipment on stage.

Shortly after, Young Thug performed for about 30 minutes. But at 11 p.m., the rapper’s microphone and music were cut off, and the house lights in the arena came on.

By the time Young Thug made it on stage, many students had left the arena. But some of those who stuck it out found the night enjoyable. McCormick sophomore Henrique DaMour said Young Thug’s set was the best part of his night.

“He’s one of the more ridiculous personalities (they’ve) ever booked,” DaMour said. “But that was why I went.”

Throughout his performance, the rapper fed off the energy of the crowd, which at one point began chanting “Jeffery,” Young Thug’s real name, and the name of his latest mixtape.

“You’re not f—ing around, Chicago! I like that,” Young Thug said.

When the rapper’s DJ came on stage, students who were on their way out came running back through the doors in an attempt to get a spot in the pit, which was mostly empty. But rather than let more people into the standing area, security shone flashlights at students in the pit and removed those who didn’t have a green wristband.

Corvin said the stringent security was due to fire safety. As with any event at Welsh-Ryan, he said, only a certain number of people are allowed on the floor before it becomes a fire hazard.

When his set abruptly ended mid-song at 11 p.m., Young Thug leapt from the stage and into the barricaded walkway that divided the standing area. At that point, students rushed the aisle to get closer to him, some jumping over the outside barricades that kept students without wristbands out of the pit.

After greeting fans, Young Thug and his entourage walked back toward the stage and exited the arena.

Corvin said any time A&O Productions has a show in Evanston, police set an end time in order to not disturb the Evanston community. In this case, Corvin said, that time was 11 p.m., and because Young Thug arrived late, his set was cut short.

“I was definitely a little disappointed,” DaMour said of the rapper’s early exit. “But overall, the experience was solid. I definitely got my $10 worth.”

Before Young Thug’s set, R&B singer-songwriter Kehlani performed for almost an hour. Wearing sweatpants and an Oakland Athletics crop top, she performed the songs “Gangsta” and “The Way,” along with other songs from her 2015 album “You Should Be Here.” She was accompanied by a DJ, a keyboardist and two dancers.

Despite complications with this year’s Blowout, Corvin said the night was still a success.

“It was a great event. I think people had a lot of fun,” he said. “Students enjoyed both acts tremendously, and we got a lot better turnout than we had hoped.”

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