“We got the best weed in here tonight. Who’s still smoking?” one member of Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang asked the crowd as the party rapper lit up Brisbane’s Eatons Hill Hotel on September 27.
Superstar pothead Wiz’ love of a herbal-assisted high is legendary: he’s said before he likes to be high as possible when performing and his next release, expected in October, is titled Rolling Papers 2: The Weed Album. At the opening show of his Australian tour leg Wiz grinned and cackled his way through an 80 minute set of more than 20 of his weed ‘n’ women anthems from all of his mixtapes and albums (including 2014’s Blacc Hollywood).
Eagle-eyed Eatons Hill security guards were kept on their toes trying to identify the smokers in attendance but the weed fog drifting up from the crowd just kept on swirling around the venue’s indoor Grand Ballroom.
With his pop radio hits Young, Wild And Free and Black and Yellow seemingly in retirement, Wiz delivered a string of marijuana-centric, metaphor-light joints such as Burn Slow, That Good, In The Cut, Lit, Raw, and The Thrill, his 2009 rework of Australian band Empire of the Sun’s Walking on a Dream.
He was joined onstage by a live band in front of a backdrop of tabloid headline clippings profiling both his drug-related arrests and his chart successes. He jumped around the stage with frenetic energy: he doused the first few rows of the crowd with bottles of water, threw off his shirt and climbed on sound equipment to be closer to fans leaning over the second-floor balcony.
The shoutalong chorus of Wiz’ 2014 track We Dem Boyz drew a thunderous reaction from the crowd but the rapper saved his biggest hit for last: the sentimental ballad See You Again. With Charlie Puth’s chorus piped in between Wiz’ verses about family and loss, the song acted as a very appropriate sendoff for Wiz and has long outlived its parent, the soundtrack for the film Furious 7 on which it acted as a tear-jerking eulogy to the films’ late lead Paul Walker.
Wiz also diverted from the weed ‘n’ women theme on The Race and the motivational No Gain (“Man I work hard,” he rapped, “Ain’t no gain without no pain,”) and he took an amusing stand against Internet narcissism and selfie sticks in No Social Media. But otherwise, he’s found a very successful formula and he’s sticking to it. Who needs the drama of Drake or the theatrics of Kanye anyway?
Wiz next plays The Big Top at Luna Park in Sydney on Wednesday (September 30) before shows in Victoria and Western Australia, deets here.
Gallery: Wiz Khalifa, Brisbane 2015 / Photos Rebecca Reid