On an eerily balmy Friday night (Oct. 6), a mile-long line stretched within New York’s Central Park for Mr. Solo Dolo’s one-man show. Kid Cudi’s Wicked Awesome Records cult thronged through the concert foregrounds to witness the splendor of his self-produced album, Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’.

The evening would not only make it evident why the Afro-Mexican artist is a unique mainstay, but would serve as a testament to his bravery. Less than a year after he posted a letter on Facebook to his loyalists, revealing that he checked himself into rehab for suicidal urges, he proved the power in rebuilding, by kicking off an affirmation tour after the release of his sixth studio album. 

At 8:15 p.m., a primeval forest was revealed on the concrete jungle Jumbotron. “Cudi” chants surrounded the SummerStage, as The Cudder emerged lionhearted as ever. Roaring the lyrics to the Travis Scott assisted record, “Baptized In Fire,” Cudi was worthy of every flame emoji caption under his frantic followers Instagram videos.

The revolution of evolution anthem “REVOFEV” was the perfectly interconnected follow-up. The almost divine tune undressed a solution to the all-too-personal stigma of his artful affliction prior to him publicly reaching for counsel. Through music, Cudi has consistently tightened the nuts and bolts incumbent for his ongoing advocacy towards good mental health. 

The now overzealous audience sang through songs “Frequency,” “Releaser,” and the fan favorite “Marijuana.” A woman nearly fainted as Cudi announced over the microphone, “I was singing to you girl. We held hands. It was a connection.” Beaming his light and gratitude, Cudi rapped, “I’m just what you made God, not many I trust/ I’ma go my own way, God, take my fate to wherever you want,” on the rhythmic wizardry of, “Just What I Am.”’

Keeping the energy high, Harlem native A$AP Rocky may not have made an appearance but, he played a role in the jittering reaction to his featured bars on the earworm,”Brothers.”

By 9:00 p.m., Cudi’s BAPE shirt was as drenched as the audiences’ moshpit. Knocking the hymnal beats of “By Design,” “Mr. Rager,” and “Kitchen,” the former lonely stoner showcased vulnerability before continuing the lunacy. The Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight melody of “through the late night,” had admirers crooning in eighty-degree weather, while Cudi belted out under a morphed snowing set.

“F–k yes, New York! Y’all feelin’ alright? Are y’all feelin’ alright,” he questioned with his Cleveland homegrown twang. Of course, NYC bounced with excitement through the shows’ field of purple lighting and smoke machines still craving more records.
Standing behind his mic stand, with arms stretched above his head, Cudi signaled the audience to get claps going in unison. The ear-splitting drums of “Rose Golden,” and Willow’s vocals subsequently blared. Alone and in his zone, he energetically jumped and danced for the eyes plastered to him.

“Soaring, is this allowed? I sure bet my daddy proud,” he spit, and the crowd instantaneously shared the sentiments of the track, “Cudi Zone.” Soon, David Guetta’s smash, “Memories,” that enabled over 177 million viewers to see Cudi’s effortless swagger (on YouTube) blared. And the EDM sensation got the rappers’ feet moving. Pulling out all the stops, Cudi seamlessly transitioned into the tragedy inspired hit, “Day ‘n’ Nite (Nightmare),” about his late uncle. 

“New York make some noise for yourself. That’s how you rage! It feels good to be up in this bitch tonight. I’m having too much fun up here,” he declared. As he paced from the left side to the right side of the stage, the lively mass attempted to outdo one another’s crowd participation.

His lyrical prowess resurfaced when he paid homage to his initial (G.O.O.D. Music) signee and mentor Kanye West by covering both Kanye and his verses from “Father Stretch My Hands.” The spiritual but not religious superstar, took a moment to express his views.

“I haven’t been on social media for a while. I needed to step away for a little bit and get ready for you guys. And I got ready for this tour. Seeing all your beautiful faces tonight is overwhelming,” he voiced through the exuberant shouts.

“Y’all are showing me that love that only you can show me. We not f—ing around no more. When I did [the song], “Day ‘N’ Night,” I was 23 [years old]. I’m 33 [years old] now, so, you guys, think about it. You’re still rocking to that song. That’s all I could ever imagine. That’s all I ever wanted. I thank y’all from the bottom of my heart,” he continued.

While grinning from ear-to-ear with childlike joy, Cudi, spun into, “Pursuit of Happiness” and charismatically detailed his manifestations. “Let’s get a peace clap for the love,” he invited. Pharrell Williams’ drum-filled contribution, “Surfin’” from Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’, created the hour-and-twenty-minute long evening’s crowning closure, to Cudi’s otherworldly acoustics.

By Bianca Alysse Mercado for Billboard.com

Image: Billboard

About The Author

Bianca Alysse is a creatively driven Bronx-born writer and editor. Before becoming The Knockturnal‘s music editor she served as Latina‘s creative coordinator and was a contributor at Billboard. The Boricua scribe has a lengthy resume in the music industry and has penned for Universal Music Publishing Group, Epic Records, G.O.O.D. Music, Compound Entertainment, Artistry & Récords, and Arcade Creative Group. Her work has been seen on platforms like VIBE, mitú, TIDAL, Remezcla, and behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week. As an independent contractor, she has written for Sony Music Entertainment’s global business affairs department, Warner Music Group, and currently Roc Nation.

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