SLC LIVE All Star Weekend• Hosted by 21 Savage w/ DRAMA• February 17, 2023• The Union
Reviewed and Photographed by Tomo Crestani
SLC LIVE All Star Weekend
With a jam-packed All-Star Weekend of concerts, I had the privilege of attending 21 Savage’s concert/afterparty. The event was held at The Union Event Center just west of Vivint Arena. 21 did not come alone, bringing along DJ Drama. DJ Drama is behind a lot of popular songs that are topping charts all over the world. It was really cool to see the crowd this duo brought out to Salt Lake City.
The night was set to begin at 9 pm, which ended up being a very early time to arrive to the party. There was a DJ that was playing music until about midnight. Although I wasn’t able to catch his name, he played a bunch of super good songs that had the energy in the venue very high. There was a consistent stream of people entering throughout the entire night. It became very crowded even in the front sections where the VIP guests were sitting and standing.
Finally, after a few hours of music, DJ Drama came out to start the real party. He was an excellent performer given that he doesn’t actually sing or perform any of his songs. DJs tend to have a harder time captivating an audience that are waiting for an artist, but DJ Drama was plenty for this crowd. He played Lil Uzi’s “I just wanna rock”, multiple times. That had to be one of the funnest parts of the whole night.
The best part of the night was towards the end of DJ Drama’s set. He started playing “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill. DJ Drama instructed the lighting crew to turn off all the lights and continued to tell the crowd to hold up their phone lights. The room became so bright as everyone listened to his instructions. The song fit the moment perfectly as I watched the front of the barricade sing every single word. It was possibly one of my favorite moments at any concert I have been to so far. He even had the security singing and partying with the people in attendance. It seemed like the first moment of the night where it didn’t matter why you were there or where you were sitting, it was equally as enjoyable from anywhere in the venue.
As DJ Drama ended his set, I was thoroughly impressed with his showmanship and performance. He really captivated the audience for a very long set. It seemed he was possibly stalling a little bit to give 21 Savage time to arrive and be ready to perform. Although I am not sure on that, the security and staff seemed to hint that this was the case.
As 21 Savage took the stage, it was honestly a little underwhelming. He didn’t have a grand entrance or even have any build-up to taking the stage. He just sort of walked on and started rapping. Having heard almost all of 21 Savage’s music I was very excited about the opportunity to shoot his show. However, it was a little underwhelming, to say the least. He only played 4 songs and then told the crowd he wanted to drink and left the stage. It was a decent concert for those 4 songs, but a bit of a bummer to not be able to enjoy it longer. I felt bad for the fans that waited in the cold for hours and then a few more hours in a raging party just to have him be tired and not put on a real show.
Although his set was a little disappointing, I still enjoyed the opportunity to see 21 Savage perform. He is still one of my favorite artists to listen to on a daily basis and will continue to be a concert I will try to attend in the future. I chalk this one up to it being the All-Star Weekend, which 21 participated in heavily. So it could have just been exhaustion or stress from a busy weekend. I think most of the people who attended would agree that it didn’t feel like there was any anger towards him for having such a short set, but more a sadness that it didn’t last longer.
As far as the venue goes, The Union handled the event perfectly. It was probably one of the largest crowds I have seen there, and they were very professional and helpful to everyone in attendance. It was a perfect way for them to take advantage of the unique opportunity of the NBA All-Star game being in Salt Lake. The security deserves a huge tip for the night, as they had to push the barrier back multiple times while making sure to keep the VIP section secure. I was very impressed with the staff working the event.
Overall I would highly recommend visiting the Union for any concerts coming up. I also would give 21 Savage another chance. I would like to see what his concert would be like on a normal day where he doesn’t have a packed schedule away from the concert. DJ Drama seemed to have saved the night, as he was one of the most entertaining shows I have been to. It was a super fun event that was managed very well by the venue.