Lil Uzi Vert climbs into audience, drops mic at A&O Blowout


Jeffrey Wang/Daily Senior Staffer

Lil Uzi Vert headlines at A&O Blowout, joined by opener MØ and Chicago artist G Herbo. Lil Uzi Vert interacted with the audience at Friday’s event, climbing onto the balcony and dropping his microphone into the crowd.

Keerti Gopal, Reporter

Lil Uzi Vert broke down the barrier between audience and performer at Friday’s A&O Blowout, traversing the balcony and dropping his mic into a sea of students.

More than 2,000 people packed into Chicago’s Riviera Theatre for the event, filling the dance floor and crowding the upper level. The concert, organized by A&O Productions, featured headliner Lil Uzi Vert and opener MØ, as well as a guest performance from Chicago-based rapper and songwriter G Herbo.

A&O co-chair Louisa Wyatt said the show was a huge success.

“I’m really, really proud of this show that we put on,” the Medill senior said. “It was hands down the best Blowout that we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

After the release of Lil Uzi Vert’s single “XO Tour Llif3” last March, Wyatt said A&O anticipated that his album would be a hit, and jumped at the chance to book him.

With 2,420 tickets reserved, this was the biggest Blowout in the past four years, A&O head of finance Aditya Jain told The Daily. The McCormick senior attributed high attendance to A&O booking talent well in advance and anticipating rises in popularity.

MØ, the opener, interacted with the audience during her 40-minute set, leaning into the crowd and climbing onto box seats.

When Lil Uzi Vert came out on stage, he danced with the winners of the box seat raffle contest, climbed onto the balcony and sang with the audience — even dropping his mic into the crowd, asking students to perform “XO Tour Llif3” themselves.

“It was really sick,” Weinberg freshman Kumail Syedain told The Daily. “I wrestled my way to the front, I got hit in the face a couple of times … but once you got there it was really good. One of my favorite concerts.”

Before the rapper’s set, A&O projected a statement on the backdrop of the stage that encouraged non-black students not to use the N-word while singing along to Lil Uzi Vert’s songs. The statement said non-black students “alienate” black peers when they say the N-word, which is inappropriate for the inclusive A&O shows.

Wyatt, who wrote an op-ed in The Daily last year on the topic, said she was proud of the statement A&O made at Blowout.

“This was a really big move for us,” she told The Daily. “This was the first time we were that explicit about saying we completely condemn this, we are going to put it in front of everyone’s face before the headliner comes on.”

Though Wyatt said it was hard to tell whether the message achieved its goal, she felt it was a step in the right direction.

McCormick sophomore Matthew Wertheim, who attended the concert, said he appreciated the announcement but did not feel that it solved the problem.

“I definitely saw people who were not black saying it,” he said. “I don’t think one message, no matter how many times they say it, will stop someone who really, really doesn’t care or just wants to say it.”

Wyatt said progress was made because use of the N-word was much less noticeable this year than at past A&O concerts.

At the end of the headliner’s set, a net burst over the dance floor, showering the audience with confetti and heaps of purple and white balloons.

“I’m really, really, really happy with the show,” Wyatt said. “Seeing how excited everyone was, it looked like everyone was having a really good time, and that’s the reason we do this.”

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