It was an unfortunate night to be waiting patiently for a show to start outside the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on the 17th of February, the opening day of Migo’s Dab Tour. On and off showers throughout the day made for an unpredictable experience for the eager fans of Atlanta’s boisterous, exciting trap trio, and the concession of concert-goers were forced to brave the windy downpour. People of all shapes, sizes, regions, and affiliations came out for the show, and many people traveled from various stretches of the California coast. I spoke to people from San Rafael, San Jose, Oakland, and a few people from areas of central valley such as Modesto, Madera, and Stockton.
Local radio station 106 KMEL also withstood the rain, toting their cameras and taking pictures of the groups that came together. In the photos, people exuberantly showed off their dab, which Migos asserts is a fashion as well as a dance. Some of the ladies wore skinny black dresses that barely protected them from the harsh weather, and I saw one girl wearing overalls with some fresh Jordans. Guys put on their best fits, and I saw some fellas wearing Bathing Ape while others were sporting Warriors jerseys and sweatpants. Despite the frigid weather, many kept warm by huddling together and rapping their favorite Migos bars, others by sipping Hennessy straight from the bottle or smoking joints. It was clear before even getting into the show that the people were ready to turn up.
The doors opened sometime around 7PM, and once everyone entered the venue, Too $hort’s banging bass was heard echoing beyond the doorway. Before the show even began, people were vibing to Bay Area classics like Mac Dre and the Jacka, dancing to the booming bass which made the rest of the track unintelligible. While everyone in the crowd meandered around sipping cocktails and beer, a young man who was standing behind me was noticeably and obnoxiously drunk. He began losing his balance, leaning on everyone around him and swearing profusely as he explained how hard he was going to turn up when “My nigga Quavo gets on stage.” Suddenly, he bolted towards the bathroom as the liquor started the turn against him, and I never heard or saw him the rest of the night.
After half an hour of waiting, the DJ began setting up his Macbook on center stage. The opening act was a local artist called KSoakin, a local rapper who played a brief set. The crowd seemed disinterested as he rapped over beats which sounded like a corny replica of a DJ Mustard track. His rapping and singing style was ineffectual as he sung his bars to the ladies of the crowd, and he seemed to lack energy as he casually walked from one end of the stage to another. The crowd was motionless compared to the rest of the night as he struggled to win them over, singing love ballads that borrowed all of their flavor from the likes of Trey Songz. The rapper barely glanced at the crowd until he decided to accost some of the ladies standing near the front of the stage. As he took his leave, he asked that everyone follow him on Instagram without even giving his name and then he vanished into the background.
After another brief wait, DJ Ray G took to the stage to bring out Skippa Da Flippa. As soon as the “QC” and “DJ RAY G” drops began to play loudly over the speakers, the crowd started to surge with energy. I was standing near the front, and people began to push and pull to get near the front stage. As the aggression and anticipation of the crowd grew, I was pushed into the people surrounding me, and the weight of everyone in the crowd pressed against the protective bars. The crowd became incredibly unruly, and soon after Skippa jumped right on stage, starting off the show with a few songs from his mixtape “I’m Havin”. As Skippa started his successful banger “Real Street Nigga”, he made a statement on the diversity of the crowd, saying “I want to ya’ll to know that you’re a real street nigga; white or black you’re still a real street nigga.” Everyone in the crowd began chanting the hook, and the crowd became a ballistic mass of sweat and euphoria.
The red and purple lights of the stage beamed down on Skippa as the hit the dab, a crescendo of gunshots following after each punchline of his bars. Slowly but surely, I had been led towards the left side of the stage as brave fans threaded their way through the gaps in the crowd. The whole show was obscured by a haze of smoke as people passed around various forms weed, left and right. Near the end of his set, Skippa played another hit titled “Safehouse”. Skippa thundered over the crowd with his hook, yelling “Safehouse! Safehouse! Hit a hunnid band juug, meet me at the safehouse!” The crowd as ecstatic was he spit his bars, jumping at every beat, thrusting their hands in the air to grasp the King of the Dab. Shortly after, he left the stage and left Ray G to play some YG, Drake, and Future before the next act.
Rich the Kid was the next act, and as he jumped on stage, he showered the crowd in fine champagne. Rich the Kid looked like a swagged out sailor, wearing a blue-striped shirt, baggy cargo pants, and some gold gucci glasses. Rich started “That Bag”, but, before kicked off the song, he tossed a joint into the audience. As people passed it around, Rich the Kid sang his verses with impeccable flow, following every line as the track played in the background. He was dashing left to right with incredible energy, showing love to each side of the stage. He played his new single “Plug”, featuring Kodak Black and Cash Carti, and he played the hook and his verse. He jumped on a platform in front the stage, almost getting absorbed by the crowd as they pulled at his clothes. The crowd was fierce as he chanted the hook to “Why You Mad”, off Streets on Lock 3, and there wasn’t a single standing moment throughout the rest of his set.
When Migos finally hit the stage, the crowd was so big that there was a large group of people who couldn’t even get into the main room. They started off their set with “WOA”, a song that features a melodic hook by Takeoff and a series of rapid fire verses by the whole gang. Everyone around me was vibing to the hook, singing the verses and swaying with every hit of the bass. Being a fan of Migos’ earlier work, I became a little peeved as they rattled off tracks from their most recent mixtape, “YRN 2”, but it only made sense that they would push their newest work. They played the humorous, yet undoubtedly misogynist, “Plan B” and followed it with “You Wanna See” and “Chances”.
The highlight of the entire set was when they played “Fight Night”, and the crowd was as unpredictable as a bird trapped indoors. People were forcing their way to the head of the stage and, ironically enough, a few fights broke out that were quickly dissolved. A circle pit formed to the right of the stage, and a scene unfolded that was like something from a Slayer show. “Pipe It Up” thundered over the speakers, and the dabbers ricocheted off of each other, sending them sprawling towards the edge of the pit. Everyone dabbed in unison as the trio performed “Look at My Dab”, and the three enunciated each line with a memorable, often witty, ad-lib.
Somewhere in the set, Migos brought out Bay Area rapper and Coke Boys affiliate Kid Red to perform an unreleased single, seemingly titled “Bouncin”. At the end of their set, the trio brought out Rich the Kid and Skippa Da Flippa for their final song, a triumphant reclamation of “the dab”, entitled “Whose Dab Is That”. The QC ensemble finished off the show with as much force and style as they had their whole show, a resolute and satisfying finish to the event. The Dab Tour is sure to provide concert-goers with an intense, unforgettable experience, and I will likely see the trap virtuosos again in the future.