Vancouver, BC — This past Tuesday night at The Imperial, actor-turned-rapper a.k.a. ‘icon living’ Jaden Smith performed to a sold-out crowd for his highly-anticipated “VISION Tour- A North American Journey”. Jaden’s debut studio album Syre was released on November 17th, 2017 off his own record label MSFTSMusic and Roc Nation. The album featured collaborations with A$AP Rocky and Raury, garnering much love from Smith’s fans.
Fans filed into the staple Chinatown venue which boasted a wall-sized screen showcasing stunning cinematography shot in the California desert. Fans were transported down the West Coast as the film divulged the tragic tale of a romantic love triangle ending in a best friend’s betrayal. The dramatic tone for the evening was deliberately set as fans stood eagerly waiting their silver screen star to make his debut.
Opening the show were up-and-comers Ian Frequency off Cardinal Collection and singer-videographer—also recognized as Willow’s boo—Tyler Cole. Tyler’s album We’re in Love & the World is Ending mirrored themes of Jaden’s Syre with apocalyptic anxiety and question the system messages. This was particularly noted with the angsty anthem, “Blow Up your TV!”. Tyler’s message of rebellion and opposition to the media transitioned into more motivational pep talk by the end of his set when he encouraged the crowd by saying that they could be whatever they wanted to be if set their mind to it and just went for their dreams.
Jaden then appeared on the stage greeted by a screaming audience holding up their cellphones to capture the icon in the flesh. Jaden’s first song of his set was fittingly the album’s first track “B” which naturally progressed into “L” then “U” then “E”. The powerful, bass-heavy production and the story-telling structure of these first four songs were supported by massive visuals in the background of pink California sunsets atop the Hollywood hills overlooking the lights of L.A. “I COULD PUT YOU ON A WAVE” in bold red text contrasted against rich blue ocean waves.
Switching gears and ramping up the energy, Jaden delivered his most infectious, most recognized track “Icon” to much crowd participation. Fans hooted and hollered as Jaden effortlessly moonwalked across the stage— a skill that he had shared in a REVOLT TV interview was picked up from his mom, Jada Pinkett Smith, and of course, the king of pop, Michael Jackson. In his patch-covered hoody and plaid-patched jeans, Jaden worked the audience and engaged the crowd with that signature Smith swag and confidence.
The most memorable scene of the night on the big screen was one of Jaden playing an electric guitar while levitating high up in the air. The scene brought to mind Kendrick levitating in his game-changing music video for To Pimp A Butterfly’s “Alright”. Another echo to Jaden’s rap inspo came with the screen cameo of Kid Cudi’s “Man on the Moon: The End of Day” vinyl cover—an obvious head nod to Jaden claiming to be very much inspired and strongly influenced by Kid Cudi’s music and style. The more introspective and melodramatic tracks off the album such as “Ninety” and “Lost Boy” were accompanied by dark visuals of an emotionally pained, crying, and sometimes puking, Jaden. The 2-D Jaden was becoming much more multidimensional, and the fans seemed to really connect with Jaden’s transparency and authenticity. This was no longer the child actor of Karate Kid or The Pursuit of Happiness; Jaden was showing himself to be an intellectually and emotionally deep and multi-faceted man of his own making.
Jaden took the opportunity about midway through his set to bring out his good friend, MSFTSRep, member, and musician ¿Téo? a.k.a Mateo Arias. ¿Téo? paid respects to his motherland of Colombia and spoke about his video being shot in beautiful Colombia while performing his track “Uno Dos”. On “Pleiadian Message”, Jaden came back out for his feature on the track. Jaden’s performance of “Batman” was the kicker of the night that took the audience from going nuts to going bat sh*t crazy.
The climactic peak of energy was reserved for the final track of the night which was take 2 of Jaden’s banger and clearly crowd-fave, “Icon”. The energy in the room built up and came to a head as Jaden invited out onto the stage his entire MSFTS crew for the grand finale. The song’s music video once again played in the background, yes, you know the one with Jaden hopping out the falcon doors of the Tesla Model X. Jaden without a doubt served up a satisfying show and left his fans wanting more. His dynamic performance proved his versatility as a performer and his ability to moonwalk seamlessly from actor to rapper.
(I stuck around to see if there’d be a surprise guest appearance from a parodying Will Smith stepping out the Tesla in gold chains, grills, and green hair. Nah. Maybe next time, Vancouver!)
Words By: Racquel Villagante
Photos By: David Dalley
Thanks to Timbre Concerts