Summer Walker’s First and Last time in Toronto
In an era where mental health, vulnerability, and weakness is stigmatized in hip-hop more than ever, Summer Walker desires to rewrite the genre’s common narrative and be inclusive of these themes — creating a more open community and bringing people together.
Specifically, she speaks openly of her anxiety and how it challenges her to do many of the common activities that artists do — such as performing. As a result of this, she has named her first global headlining tour the “First and Last” tour, hinting that she does not intend to do this again. Whether this be true or not, it was certainly a pleasure for this tour to reach Toronto’s REBEL concert venue on November 25, 2019.
The 23-year-old crooner has seen a very swift jump into the mainstream after her very successful debut album Over It which broke the highest ever streams in a week for a female R&B artist. Furthermore, she has received several cosigns from rap superstar Drake. Walker, despite her reluctance and nervousness to perform, put on a show that reflected why she is deserving of her accolades.
First of all, the stage design was spectacular. It consisted of (1) a spherical structure behind her which reflected light akin to a disco ball, (2) gleaming poles for her background dancers to use, and (3) elevated platforms which were designated for her along with accompanying band. When she came on, the aforementioned aspects made her performance that much more awe-inspiring to see. Concerts are a sonic experience first and visual experience second, however, it is well-deserving of praise when an artist and team works hard to satisfy both of these aspects.
Walker has a stunning voice that put the crowd in a trance-like state during the show. They were harmonizing along and moving their bodies to the tunes of her ballads. Her voice particularly shined during her rendition of Session 32 as the track itself isolates her vocals with just a simple accompanying acoustic guitar chord. The most stellar part about this concert, however, was how Walker’s personality was reflected during the entirety of her set. She spoke to the audience in between songs. She let them know how she was nervous at times, she had a toast with the crowd, and she constantly mentioned how much she loves Toronto. Subtle jokes whilst doing this also created a sense of comic relief which was refreshing. Ultimately, the ability to see her personality strengthened the connection between her and the audience.
Despite her stellar ability as a musician, Summer Walker and her team suffered a case of Murphy’s Law on the night of the concert. Technical complications and issues at the US-Canadian border delayed the time of the show, leaving some fans to wait in the cold. Furthermore, the sound team did not do the best job as there were a couple of times during her set where the background audio was drowning out her vocals. A narrative was created that she delayed her show to have a photoshoot with Drake beforehand. However, she quickly dispelled these rumours explaining that passport and birth certificate complications with her team were the reasons for the delays. She also added that she had to fire her sound team twice. The promoter, RAPSEASON, also professionally handled this situation by swiftly making an official statement that explained why these unfortunate events occurred. Ultimately, it is not anybody’s fault in particular for why said complications happened, howbeit, just a case of overall unfavourable luck. As a silver lining, it was clear that once she did come on stage, fans were greatly appeased by the show — as noted in the prior sections of this review. Several videos even show the crowd thoroughly ecstatic and cheering for her.
Conclusively, Summer Walker’s ability to deliver a seamless performance despite her nervousness and a long line of external complications is very impressive. It is unclear whether or not this truly is her last tour ever, however, it is certainly clear that fans will be more than happy if it is not.