Surrounded by striking pyrotechnics, amid apocalyptic-like trap and drill beats — punctuated by occasional machine gun sounds — Eladio Carrión made a grand entrance at New York’s Theater in Madison Square Garden.
He was decked out in an outfit reminiscent of Mad Max, rocking a tactical vest and black cargo jeans, with a glimmering B.B. Simon belt. The result was a visual that evoked the image of an urban gladiator stepping onto the stage, an uncanny coincidence considering the superstitious nature of Friday the 13th.
Starting his set at 9:50 p.m., he rallied his ardent fan base, captivating them with a two-hour spectacle that showcased the full spectrum of his career. His performance spanned from the early “SoundCloud days” of Sauce Boyz (2020) to his latest Billboard 200-charting 3MEN2 KBRN, creating a musical journey that left no stone unturned.
His arrival comes one week after he kicked off the second leg of his The Sauce USA tour in Chicago on Oct. 7. The U.S.-born, Puerto Rican rapper expressed his excitement about performing at the legendary Manhattan venue: “You are all here for my first big show in New York at Madison Square Garden. This is a very special day,” he told the audience, reminiscing just a few years ago when he performed in nightclubs.
The enthusiasm was palpable throughout the entire show. It was a mutual exchange of energy with his passionate fanbase, making the performance a memorable one. Presented by Live Nation, Carrión’s tour stops include Las Vegas (Oct. 21), San Diego (Oct. 29), Seattle (Nov. 5) and more before wrapping up Nov. 11 in Miami.
Here are five takeaways from the trap star’s Sauce Boyz show at The Theater at MSG.
A man of many talents, Carrión’s background as a comedian shone through during the show. Perhaps that’s why he seemed so effortlessly comfortable onstage, engaging with the fans in between songs, making witty comments, and pointing out clever observations on the spot. He was also happy to be there that night: “The only place in the world where I eat a sancocho at two in the morning is in New York,” he told the audience as he held a glass of tequila reposado. “You guys are blessed with that. Besides the food, my family is here, so I’ve always felt a very strong connection to New York.”
There was another moment when he encouraged concert-goers to let loose without their phones in hand. The crowd complied, creating a throwback atmosphere where no phones were raised, allowing fans to fully immerse themselves in the experience. This unique approach gave fans the chance to savor his hit “Mbappe” in two distinct ways — one with the phone-free connection, and the other through the lens of their devices.
Carrión boasts a repertoire of freestyle tracks and songs that truly highlight his lyrical prowess. What set him apart was his jaw-dropping ability to deliver intricate rhymes seamlessly, without even a pause for breath. It’s a rare sight in live performances, especially when you factor in all the dancing and moving on stage. However, he has the lung capacity to match his lyrical finesse, as he was once a professional swimmer.
Despite the venue’s capacity of 5,600, the event had an intimate vibe. What set it apart was the fact that practically everyone there was a die-hard fan, rapping along with him word for word. It’s not something you often see at rap shows, where fans usually vibe to the chorus, but this crowd knew every line. Even the rapper was taken slightly aback, “Damn, New York! You know!” he said.
He amped up the crowd by giving shout-outs to all the Latin countries, and when he began to spit verses, the entire audience started jumping, and from where I stood, you could literally feel the ground shaking. No joke.
“Mad Max”-esque Visuals
Beyond his electrifying stage presence, the doomsday-like visuals, laser beams slicing through the darkness, and explosive pyrotechnics were on par with a scene from Mad Max. Carrión was always in the spotlight, projecting his larger-than-life persona on the screen behind him. The way that visuals meshed with his essence visually was a lit element of the show, thus amplifying the vibes of his music.
Sharing the Stage — and the Mic
Carrión’s generosity on stage extended to both emerging Latin talents and his dedicated fans. During the second leg of his tour, he welcomed Venezuelan rapper Big Soto as an opening act, who later joined Carrión to sing their collab, “Putero.” As the night unfolded, the Puerto Rican rapper shared another moment by inviting “Corina Smith” for a duet. However, one of the most remarkable moments came when he handpicked three enthusiastic audience members who knew every word to his songs, which Carrión peeped from the stage. Acknowledging their dedication, he handed them microphones, allowing them to shine on stage alongside him.