It takes a special kind of talent to take the stage solo — sans band, sans back-up dancers and singers — and still bring the house down. Yet on November 5, American rapper-singer-songwriter Russ did just that, at no less than the SM Mall of Asia Arena, at that. Here’s what went down.
Building the hype
It was Saturday night and, thanks to Karpos Multimedia, Russ was back in Manila, wrapping up the Asian leg of his The Journey Is Everything World Tour. But in true Manila fashion, many concertgoers were held up by traffic going to the MOA Arena. And so, an hour before he was supposed to take the stage, Russ announced that he would be delaying the start of the concert so that more of his fans could catch the beginning of the show.
Manila the traffic is crazy so fans are late gettin to the venue. My original set time was 8:20 but imma wait for everyone to show up and go on around 8:45/9
— RUSS (@russdiemon) November 5, 2022
Because of the delay, Russ’ opening act — long-time collaborator DJ Calvin da Coordinator — had to extend his set. The Atlanta-based DJ started his set at 7 p.m. and kept the crowd hyped up until he wrapped up around 8:30 p.m.
Russ takes the stage
Delaying the show was a good decision, because at 9 p.m., with the arena mostly full, Russ casually walked onto the stage and the crowd instantly went bonkers. And then, with barely any fanfare, he immediately kicked off the show with his latest single “BET”.
Wherever he brought the audience, they were right there with him, whether they were dancing in the VIP pit or screaming along to the songs from the stands.
Russ performed abridged versions of his tracks (usually just the first verse and a chorus), and thus was able to cover a lot of ground. He performed songs from all over his catalog — from recent hits like “HANDSOMER” and “Losin Control” to deep cuts like “Nobody Knows”. He posted the latter performance on his Instagram, saying, “It’s always a special feeling when the crowd knows this song. The catalog runs deep and I’m grateful for fans who do the deep dive on it.”
With just an LED screen behind him projecting his songs’ accompanying art, Russ commanded the stage for a little over an hour, taking no breaks. It was a night for the books, with good vibes all around. During Russ’ performance of “Ain’t Nobody Takin My Baby”, someone even proposed!
After he performed his last song “Missin You Crazy”, the audience clamored for more. He came back on stage to give an encore, performing “Do It Myself” to an elated crowd.
This concert marked Russ’ second show in the Philippines (back in 2019, he held a concert at the New Frontier Theater in Cubao). Part 3 soon?
Were you at the Russ 2022 concert? Share your experience with us in the comments!