Epik High Pumps Up the Energy in Oakland to an ‘All Time High’

Epik High has built a reputation for putting on concerts that are full of heart and humor. Their concert on April 8th at the Fox Theater in Oakland was no different. The trio has a thing for silly intros, and they kicked off their show with a trailer for their concert. In a pre-recorded clip, Tablo sat with his manager, Eddie Nam, to chat about how the ensuing show was about to be the best version of a show anyone has ever seen. In some ways, this was a homecoming show as the Bay Area is where Tablo spent his college years. Although he hasn’t lived here in a while, Tablo proved just how well he remembers the Bay Area. The clip was interspersed with jokes and memes about high rent, cold San Francisco weather in the summer, and a no-context-needed photo of a BART train with all the seats removed, which earned roaring laughter from the crowd.

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Taking the stage, Epik High opened the concert with “On My Way,” a track from their latest EP, Strawberry. The song epitomizes Epik High and how they’re always doing things their way, enveloping a mellow chorus with fiery rap verses. The trio followed up with “Fly,” the upbeat pop-rap earworm that skyrocketed the group to mainstream popularity in 2005. While the group’s sound has evolved since “Fly,” the crowd revealed themselves to be loyal fans, singing fervently along to the lyrics. “On My Way” and “Fly” shows Epik High at different times on their musical journey, yet reflects the group’s longstanding message of encouragement to follow your own path despite the obstacles.

From there, the rest of the setlist ran the whole gamut of the trio’s discography. Epik High took the audience for a ride through their music, going hard for “No Thanxxx,” getting sentimental for “Rain Song,” and bringing the energy up for “Beautiful.” Aside from the music, there’s another thing concertgoers get excited about most at an Epik High concert: the “water show.” The members teased the anticipating crowd by picking up as many water bottles as they could hold in their hands, only to put them down to be “gentlemanly” and take a group photo with the attendees before everybody would get wet. Equipped with plenty of water bottles on stage, the group went through bottle after bottle, kicking up the energy level another notch each time they doused the crowd.

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While it feels like you’re just an anonymous person in the crowd, Epik High showed that they’re watching the audience just as closely as the audience is focused on them. Tablo noticed a concertgoer, who seemed to be enjoying the show quietly with a serious look on their face, but upon calling them out, Tablo brightly said, “Now you’re smiling. You look so good when you smile.” The concert was just as much of a treat for fans as it was for the group. Tablo left the crowd with some touching words: “We’ve seen so many faces and heard so many voices on this tour, but we’ll never meet another audience like you.”

Click on the photo below to see all our photos from the concert on Facebook!


Mai Nguyen

Editor-in-Chief at Asia Pacific Arts.
Feel free to send me a note on Twitter to @hellomailee.

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