The CHI Health Center was sold out. Not sold out with an asterisk — the kind where the venue claims to have sold all the tickets but there are still a conspicuous amount of open seats. No, every single seat was taken. Post Malone was taking the stage on a chilly Tuesday night and droves of people from all across Omaha and Iowa came to worship at the altar of their Bud Light-swilling, face-tatted, curly-haired songsmith.
In just over four years, the 24-year-old Dallas-raised singer has released three highly successful albums — 2016’s Stoney, 2018’s Beerbongs and Bentleys, and last year’s Hollywood Bleeding — with a litany of hits that few modern artists can rival.
After a biblical lurch of synths, Malone rose from an opening in the floor to kick off the show with his latest album’s title track. Though not released as a single, the crowd screamed every word with conviction.
Once he finished, the lights rose and the crowd was given their first real chance to get a good look at their hero.
Dressed in a vintage Ozzy Osbourne t-shirt with baggy jeans and painted nails — Lamborghini yellow on his left hand, black on his right — Malone greeted the crowd with a bleary-eyed smile.
“I’m gonna play you some s—– music while we get f—– up,” he told the audience. “But it’s the first stop on the tour so if I f— it up forgive me because I’m trying my best.” From there he launched into “Better Now” before delivering “Saint-Tropez,” a song he claimed was about “living in the moment because you never know when it’s going to end.”
Malone fluctuated between braggadocious half-rapper and lean-coated, emotional crooner for the entire evening.
During “Allegic,” a mishmash of doo-wop and pop-punk, Malone traversed the stage with a faux-Jagger strut. Surprisngly, the most euphoric singalong was “Candy Paint,” done at double-time and complemented by a euphoric gleam of purple and green laser lights. A few songs later, Malone dedicated “I Fall Apart” to “anyone that has ever had their heart broken.” He proceeded to sing the song with an unhinged emotional rawness, eventually making his way to the end of the stage and writhing around in mock agony.
Ozzy Osborne then made an appearance on the big screens flanking Malone to deliver his verse from “Take What You Want.” After the song’s pyrotechnics subsided, Malone seated himself on a wooden stool with a guitar to play “Stay,” in what turned out to be the most emotional moment of the evening.
“I know I can’t play anything like the last solo but can I play some guitar for y’all,” he said. “I’m so nervous tonight,” he continued while apprehensively plucked the song’s main riff multiple times before the deafening “Posty” chants gave him the courage to start the song in earnest.
With his voice not slathered in the varnish of reverb used he on the other songs, Malone’s characteristic warble was able to shine and provided the perfect opportunity to swing their cell phone flashlights from side to side.
Malone followed by playing old (relatively speaking) favorites “White Iverson” and “Go Flex” before bringing back opener Swae Lee to play the pair’s duet “Sunflower” from the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse during which Malone tossed the song’s namesake flora into the VIP pits surrounding the stage.
After smashing a guitar and dousing a guitar in what I can only assume is new Bud Light Mango Seltzer (®) and giving a rousing speech about how anyone in the crowd can reach their potential, Malone played “Congratulations” to a sea of rapturous, swaying bodies.
“I’ll be honest Omaha, I’ve been going through some shit,” he said at the song’s conclusion. “Being able to sing for y’all saves my f—— life.” And with that, he walked off stage with the same strut he had used all evening, the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” booming out of the speakers.