Lil Nas X at Lucca Summer Festival: A show for few

The contrast could not be more marked: on the one hand, the Piazza Napoleone with the seats of the small summer arena, lined neatly in the pit, the atmosphere of Italian summer and village fairs. However, on stage, it’s Lil Nas X who brings on a show worthy of a Las Vegas residency, mixing American rodeo aesthetics with camp and hip hop to suggest tips.

Looks like 2023 is going to be a summer of unpredictable and disturbing music festivals. Lana Del Rey with Flash Date at the Lido di Camiore was the prelude to the descent of the American artist who currently holds the record for most consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard charts (19). One result was achieved with their first single, “Old Town Road”, on the notes of which Lil Nas X allows himself a little undetected, grabbing a tricolor cowboy hat from the audience and placing it on his head.

There are very few deviations from the schedule, as Lil Nas X is a song and dance show programmed to the millimeter, complete with interludes featuring corps de ballet soloists performing Rihanna and Beyoncé’s remix hits.

After CMQMartina (the announced support performance a few hours before the show) setting the stage, it takes so long to get the audience excited that the atmosphere cools down again. The public leaves their chairs, ignoring the policy of not putting photos and videos on tickets. We crowd under the stage, but without any tension: there’s plenty of room for everyone.

At 21:45 we begin by overcoming some technical hurdles. 8 dancers take to the stage in white fringed costumes reminiscent of the movie “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”. First casualty: One of the arc-shaped inflatables on stage doesn’t work well, so it’s the technicians who open the way for a rapper in a fur coat who conquers the scene, heating it up instantly. Charming, charismatic, a little exhibitionist: Lil Nas X captivates his audience and doesn’t let go for the next hour.

It’s a great start, with a slightly different set list from the oft-repeated tour, which will conclude its European bracket in Paris on Saturday. Lil Nas X immediately hits an ace: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, the emblematic song from his only EP, his best-known hit. As soon as she sings, she immediately joins the corps de ballet. She will never stop dancing with him, effortlessly managing the choreographed show from start to finish.

Lil Nas X has charisma, so even though his low spoken interludes are not always understood by the audience, he never loses focus and manages to make himself understood. When it comes to the hits “Old Town Road” (the first song of 2018), “Rodeo” and “Pony,” Lil Nas shows off great props worthy of a Tim Burton movie or a Las Vegas show. After a brief interval, he returns to the stage riding between a horse and a giant animal with golden arms, which he jumps into shortly after. A large bird-shaped puppet with a long beak and a Minotaur would follow him.

Lil Nas X is a true stage animal, which he carries with great naturalness, masterful in his sensuality, and palpable gymnastic skills. He dances a lot, struts, jumps, sweats a lot but doesn’t seem to think much about it. The singing and rapped parts are unfortunately not in the foreground. The impression is that the premise helps, which isn’t so surprising considering the rhythm built from start to finish. Lil Nas X gives the idea of ​​achieving more than just fanfare, but prioritizes the show’s showiness (which it is, anyway) rather than a staging that focuses more on the voice.

More than a concert, Lil Nas X brought on a show, proving to be a masterful artist who paid attention to both the flow and performance of the music. Colorful scenes are beautifully engraved on the screen behind the stage, as well as their clothes are changed to match the dancers. Taking off the golden armor and white pants, Lil Nas returns to the stage with a full blue look complete with a bull mask on his belt and a glittery skirt.

The event has two boundaries. The first is experienced by our young singers as well: Like Blanco, Lil Nas X’s repertoire is very narrow. Single EP of 15 tracks and a few singles, known by heart to the public due to frequent radio airplay.

On “Panini” and “That’s What I Want” he encourages the audience to sing along and the audience readily follows along. Not a lot of attendees: Considering the goals Lil Nas X has achieved in just five years, the popularity of his songs on Italian radio, and his public persona – constantly hovering between provocative queer pop star and fashion icon with a fixed appointment at the Met Gala – it is surprising how easily one reaches the stage, ignoring chairs that almost no one sits on.

Those lucky enough to spot Lil Nas X didn’t have to deal with the usual Lucca Summer Festival crowds. You park comfortably inside the walls and it doesn’t feel like a storm has hit the city. In short, Lil Nas seemed like a glorious anomaly, the kind of concert that creates an intimate atmosphere in a close encounter with an international star, far from the large numbers and contexts in which he usually revolves, with a sense of sadness for an event that certainly deserves more participation.

The final impression is that those who were there will be able to remember for a long time that they have seen a unique show in terms of numbers and modalities: one of those anomalies that the Italian concert summer can offer. For those who appreciate Lil Nas X’s sound that blends country rap, hip hop, and pop, this was a good thing to see and hear.

The only serious flaw is the duration of the show with a very high tempo, yes, but also very short. After a slightly delayed start, Lil Nas X’s concert ended on time at 10:47 p.m. with his hit “Industry Baby” and greetings from the crowd. It’s no wonder the audience chanted “One more song!” The shouting began, especially since the singer’s latest single “Star Walkin’ (League of Legends Worlds Anthem) was left out of the lineup.

However, no repetition, everyone at home. Without banter with official merchandise, reinforcing the impression that we witnessed a spectacular accident of the case.

set list:

montero (call me by your name)
batty boy
just died
it should not
Old Town Road / Rodeo / Pony
Sun goes down
sof hoe down
that’s what I want

lost in the citadel
industry baby

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