For better or worse, and mostly worse, Post Malone goes it alone in Indy

At first, it appeared to be some sort of frat-party magic act.

Post Malone just kept pulling plastic cups out of nowhere, at each point of the massive trident-shaped stage erected at Gainbridge Fieldhouse Sunday night. He never held one for more than a minute or two between songs. There were red ones and blues ones, likely of the Solo variety, but I can't be sure.

I first thought he was taking them from audience members. Drinking random cups from strangers in the time of COVID would be ill-advised but also fairly punk rock. I soon realized it was someone's job to keep bringing out all these cups.

That person needed to be on the right side of the correct stage at various intervals throughout Malone's 90-minute set, avoiding pyro and screaming fans while battling deafening bass. There was a careful plan at work. And why the different colors? Was there some sort of system? Red for this liquor, blue for that?

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When a show is this boring, you have time to notice the little idiosyncrasies that keep a multimillion-dollar tour moving.

Malone went it alone in Indy. The cup guy was his only accompaniment — no band, no DJ, no dancers, no wardrobe changes, no premade videos on the screen behind him. Just a man in a Cowboys jersey and ill-fitting jeans singing along to full tracks of his songs with the occasional shimmy, high-five and sincere message of encouragement.

Post Malone performs at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Oct. 2, 2022 in Indianapolis.
Post Malone performs at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Oct. 2, 2022 in Indianapolis.

I have no doubt a lot of people had a lot of fun at the Fieldhouse. It's fun to get dressed up in your club clothes and sing along to your favorite songs. And hey, what a bonus, the guy who made those songs was singing along to them with you.

But musically, Malone may have said it best himself.

"My name is Austin Richard Post," he told what sure looked like a sellout crowd. "I came to play some s---ty songs and get a little bit f---ed up while doing it."

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Apart from the fun factor, the performance did not tick any of the boxes.

Its biggest surprises were the '90s WWE-style pyrotechnical bursts during "Better Now" and "Take What You Want," the latter of which was a decent spot in the show. He let out a metal-style scream that was fun.

As best as I can tell, there were no covers, special guests or any of the other musical changeups that spice up live performances save for a two-and-a-half song acoustic set.

Post Malone performs at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Oct. 2, 2022 in Indianapolis.
Post Malone performs at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Oct. 2, 2022 in Indianapolis.

There was no musicianship or vocal ability to display, as it was basically a singalong. The only interesting visual trick came during "Love/Hate Letter to Alcohol," during which he sang into a camera that made him black and white on the big screen behind him.

Malone wasn't phoning it in. He recently injured himself at a show in St. Louis, but he told the audience he was fine. He was doing everything one person singing along with his recordings can do.

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He had showed some emotion, often placing the mic on the ground and screaming down into the floor.

There was a presence and connection. He high-fived everyone he could, pointed to them and seemed kinetically focused on making moments with his audience.

And again, the crowd was into it.

Post Malone performs at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Oct. 2, 2022 in Indianapolis.
Post Malone performs at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Oct. 2, 2022 in Indianapolis.

During "Rockstar," people went ballistic. They screamed every word and cheered wildly as Malone smashed the acoustic guitar he had played earlier in the set.

It was a strange sight for several reasons.

For one, you normally see an electric guitar smashed, as they are the primary rock 'n' roll vehicles. And it's usually one that the smasher has just finished playing, not one that was awkwardly placed back on the stage (almost certainly by cup guy, who at least picked up its pieces afterward) during the song.

But it's a simple concept. If there's not much happening on stage, not much musical ability showcased and no difference between hearing the song on the radio, then that just isn't a good show.

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It's a concert. There should be new things to hear and see. If you've heard a Post Malone song and seen him bopping along with it on YouTube, you saw what I did on Sunday.

I can be happy for the others who enjoyed themselves, though. Based on the full jersey attire, a few people might have even gone for the rare downtown Indy double faceplant: A Colts home loss into a mediocre concert.

Post Malone performs at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Oct. 2, 2022 in Indianapolis.
Post Malone performs at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Oct. 2, 2022 in Indianapolis.

One guy in particular was having a lot of fun dancing in the aisles about three rows in front of me. So much fun in fact that they asked him to move to a seat several times, then escorted him out near the end of the show when he apparently would not.

I saw what sure looked like him in the center section of Georgia Street as I left, trying to push one of those green electric scooters toward the Indiana Convention Center with one foot. Like it was a a Razor or something.

Some say that was the end of his story. Others, just the beginning. Either way, the concert wasn't very good.

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Rory Appleton is the pop culture reporter at IndyStar. Contact him at 317-552-9044 and rappleton@indystar.com, or follow him on Twitter at @RoryDoesPhonics.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Post Malone review: Indianapolis show boring and uneventful