ale brought his “Wow...That’s Crazy” tour to a sold-out crowd at Iron City on January 19th. Touring in support of his 2019 album under the same name, this show proved to be just that, absolutely crazy. I’ve been going to concerts at Iron City since its opening but I have never seen the venue that crowded before in my entire life. Despite freezing temperatures, the entry line stretched around the block and once inside, every available space was taken, including all corners of the balconies and even the area behind the bar where you can’t even see the stage. It was clear that Birmingham loves Wale and the show proved that Wale loves them right back.

Looking out, the audience was predominantly women. The entire barricade was lined with women of all ages, with their men (boyfriends, partners, whatever) hyping them up from the second row. To experience how this D.C. rapper's music united all of those powerful women under one roof was inspiring. They were all there for one purpose, to see their favorite performer and to have a good time doing it. And judging from the almost constant screams of “WALE I LOVE YOU” that the audience produced, any man they might have been with were an afterthought. 

After everybody crammed into the venue, the night started off with a set from Las Vegas’ own Yowda. Yowda’s infectious energy and spit-fire verses got the crowd hyped up and ready for the main event. After his set, but before Wale came on, the onstage DJ was sampling old school hip-hop tracks mixed with modern day rap songs that got even the security guards dancing and singing along. By the time Wale was set to come on, the entire crowd was energized and ready for the night. 

There were people at the show who clearly were fans of Wale’s from the very beginning, something that he even seemed to recognize, often times dedicating songs like “90210” to his “day ones.” Tracks from his newest album also elicited similar reactions from the crowd that the older ones did. Songs such as “BGM” and “On Chill” had people up and dancing through the entire set. There was definitely an energy at Wale’s show but also a calmness. It was a party and a church service all at once. The crowd went in between stages of total calmness and complete chaos, all with a smile on their face. Towards the end of the set the opening bars of Waka Flocka Flame’s “No Hands” exploded from the stage. Wale began spitting out the beginnings of his verse when a pack of girls near the back really amped up a performance of their own, twerking on the walls and dancing with anyone around them who would join. Shoutout to them; they were the highlight of my night. 

Even after the show was over, Wale and his whole crew stayed on stage long after the lights came off, talking to fans and signing shirts and other merch that was thrown on the stage at them. He even called out certain members of the audience that he recognized from other shows and made them promise that he would see them again.  It’s this type of audience connection that sets Wale apart. His fans have been beside him from the beginning and he knows and appreciates that. As the night came to an end and people started filing out of the venue, the smiles were contagious, the happiness was palpable and everyone was left anxiously awaiting their next Wale show. 

Photos by
Erin Dickson