There are some disappointments. First, it’s short, running at just under 10 minutes, a far cry from the hour-long hip hop in-person concerts of the old days. And Travis Scott wasn’t truly live, instead we got a prerecorded mix of songs old and new. A new single with Kid Cudi, releasing Thursday night, also debuted in the set. Unlike the DJ Marshmello set last year, this wasn’t a truly live experience. And the player audience was limited, probably due to the complex narrative the entire show was telling.
But it’s what you can see, and what you can do, that brought this event to the next level. Travis touched down onto the map, his head touching the atmosphere. “Sicko Mode” kicked off the mix as he wandered and danced around the map, rapping and teleporting. The lip syncing on his model nicely matched the tracks.
His audio-fueled “Astroworld” planet orbited the Fortnite world. Travis launched players into the stratosphere, the planet pulsating with hype. The entire map bounced everyone like a trampoline, all tin rhythm with the beat. Sexy virtual hologram dancers backed up the rapper as he continued to zip all over the map.
Travis’s skin exploded, revealing his cyborg innards. Eventually, everyone’s central nervous systems became a rainbow-streaked light show. The rest of the show is almost too bizarre to describe. The surreal experience shouldn’t be any surprise to Travis Scott’s effects-laden music videos. It was only a question of whether this event would match that aesthetic, and it’s safe to say it did.
If the lack of live music or content might disappoint, an Epic Games employee tweeted that the work to create the event was all done from home during quarantine. We can only imagine what’s possible without social distancing.
Epic Games has Travis Scott to thank for much of Fortnite’s popularity. The 27-year-old rapper joined famous gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Drake and Pittsburgh Steeler Juju Smith-Schuster in a legendary March 2018 Twitch stream that drove the game’s popularity across the world, rising further over the last two years.
Reactions to the concert were also positive. Fans and even critics alike were fascinated by the event. Just before the start of the NFL draft, Smith-Schuster, like his former squad mate Travis Scott, was still all too eager to hype Fortnite.
Travis Scott Fortnite Concert was CRAZY!!!!— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) April 23, 2020