I didn’t need to be a stung by a bee at age four to know that hives are scary. Standing with a crowd of NYU kids in the rain waiting to get into New York’s Terminal 5 to see Future perform taught me the same lesson. Until then, I’d steered clear of Future Hive—not out of active disdain, it just wasn’t my favorite kind of music.
But on this wet weekday night, one of my favorite groups, OSHUN, was opening for Future, so I found myself getting acquainted with the Atlanta rapper who’s currently winning the internet.
Crowds of students flooded the Manhattan venue for Future’s Purple Reign tour stop. Some were quick to fill up the two balcony levels perched above the stage, but I stayed on the floor, not knowing how much of a difference that would make once the lights dimmed.
Mosh pits started breaking out hours before Future stepped on stage. Security waited until opening acts Lil Donald, OSHUN, and Topaz Jones finished to even attempt to calm the crowd—but they failed. Fights broke out. Weed smoke filled the air.
I found myself behind proud #FutureHive member Imani Deas, who thought being front row would be as fun as it was when she saw him at Made In America Festival in 2015. Before long, she had bruises from being pushed into the front barricades by the excited audience. Imani told me her other Future experiences had been much tamer. Last night’s crowd resembled the BeyHive, Deas said—“It was out of control.” Like the words stamped across the rapper’s tee-shirt that night, being on the floor was “high risk.”
Almost three hours in, a hooded figure stepped on stage, face covered by a BAPE hoodie and sunglasses. The #FutureHive started buzzing, but they weren’t convinced—earlier in the night, a Future look-alike lingering outside Terminal 5 got the side-eye. But once they heard “Gucci flip-flops,” all hell broke loose.
Surprisingly, I knew most of the tracks performed, including “Fuck Up Some Commas,” “Where Ya At,” “March Madness,” and “Move That Dope.” He even went as far back as 2012’s “Same Damn Time.” Future devotee Adan Kohnhorst pointed out that the setlist seemed to be based around the rapper’s radio hits. It made it easy for Future to let the screaming audience take over, to the dismay of fan Mike Chen. “He didn’t perform ‘Diamonds Dancing’ that well,” said Chen. “He let the crowd do too much.”
Near the end of the show, Future jumped down to floor level and disappeared into a swarm camera phones. What amazed me about Future wasn’t the music, though—it was the creative direction of visuals and the crowd’s intensity.
The performance was elaborate. Smoke shot out of the stage. Three giant screens of music videos and graphics flashed behind the rapper as he performed, ranging from explicit scenes of girls to basketball jerseys referencing his mixtape titles. Multi-colored lights beamed out in all directions as fans lost their minds in a frenzied sea of sweat and (joyful) tears. Out of all the concerts I have been to, nothing compared to this. The night’s most memorable moment occurred when fuchsia confetti burst out onto the floor during one of the two renditions of “Purple Reign.”
Just before 11 p.m. the show was done, and Terminal 5 started clearing out. #FutureHive member Joshua Easington put it simply, “He just turnt the fuck up.” I had to agree. But in the end, I did not leave Terminal 5 a Future fan.The heavy use of autotune and mumbled lines about codeine can only be taken in small doses. I left only wanting a couple of Future songs on my playlist… and a pair of Gucci flip-flops.