By Barry Hirshfeld
I have always dreamed of seeing one of my favorite artists live in concert, and after missing A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s 2019 performance at the Fillmore in San Francisco, I never thought such an opportunity would arise again. That all changed when I found out Lil Baby and Lil Durk were going on the Back Outside Tour and would come to Oakland on September 25––I just had to go.
Opening, Coi Leray couldn’t disappoint because my expectations for her were so low; thankfully, Durkio saved her with their performance of “No More Parties.” Although Lil Durk’s portion of the concert was disappointing, as he didn’t play his best or most hype songs, he made the best of it. My favorite portion of his performance was his tribute to King Von, where he sang “Crazy Story,” displaying how it’s OTF, Only the Family.
After Smurk’s individual show, there was a 20 minute intermission where everyone who sat near us on the main floor (we were in the 23rd row!) was escorted to their actual seats. In reality, the break was utilized to set up a heightened piece on the stage––where Lil Baby would eventually emerge on top of, and jump out of a staged bed as soon as the spotlight shone onto him and his verse on “Wants and Needs” came on, astounding the arena.
Lil Baby’s performance can only be described in one word: unreal. His utilization of dancers, flames, smoke, fireworks, virtual visuals, jewelry, and confetti made his show seem like a simulation. It was unimaginable. I hate cliches, but you just had to be there. His performances of “Emotionally Scarred” and “Close Friends” were some of his best, although his DJ’s ability to hype up the crowd during “Freestyle,” “Southside,” and “Every Chance I Get,” makes them a close third and fourth. My favorite part of his performance, other than those several songs, was when he brought Lil Durk out again, where they simultaneously arose on top of the heightened stage piece, and hugged each other before playing a few songs from their collaboration album: “Voice of the Heroes.”
Ultimately, the concert arose far above all of my expectations; although if they had given more credit to Lil Durk and performed more of “Voice of the Heroes,” it would have been flawless. I hope to view the breathtaking duo again live, as well as many more of my favorite artists in concert.