Thursday marked the first stop on the arena leg of J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only World Tour, and attendees are still processing what went down.
In terms of making a visual statement, Cole got people talking with his stage entrance. He walked through the crowd in Phoenix, Arizona’s Talking Stick Resort Arena clothed in a replica of an orange prison issue jumpsuit surrounded by police officers. Of particular note was a spot purposely left blank in place of the phrasing usually used to indicate the facility where prisoners are assigned.
This shit gives me chills, can't wait till he comes to Australia. If you listen closely you can hear a guy laughing of excitement in the background 😂. Video Credit: smoke_eee #dreamville #4youreyezonly #phoenix #4youreyezonlytour #talkingstickresortarena #fresh #coleworld #jcole #dope #100 #legend #rap #hiphop #rocnation #realcoleworld
A post shared by realcoleworld (@dreamsfromtheville) on Jul 8, 2017 at 4:39am PDT
While the majority of J. Cole's platinum-selling 2016 album was presented as being told through the perspective of someone else, Cole broke character a few times—most notably for crowd control purposes before performing “Déjà Vu.”
The Phoenix show also revealed Cole will likely be performing cuts from other albums, as “Wet Dreamz” and “A Tale of 2 Citiez” drew positive responses from the crowd.
As Cole’s entrance and attire indicated, mass incarceration is a bit of a theme. While the subject is touched on with tracks like “Change” and “Caged Bird,” there was also visible, faux barbed wire surrounding the stage in Phoenix.
On the technical side, Cole—who has racked up a considerable number of producer credits in his discography—opted for a live backing band. There were no other vocalists accompanying the band, so Cole handled the harmonizing and singing on tracks like “Ville Mentality” himself.
YouTube user Opus Magnum spliced together a 10-minute highlight reel of Thursday night’s festivities, which you can view above. Anderson.Paak is scheduled to join the tour, while Dreamville team members Bas, Ari Lennox and J.I.D. also share billing.
For additional tour information and tickets, visit livenation.com.