Last night, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis held a concert at my college.
Let’s get rid of the not-so-great things– Macklemore sounded a bit scripted, as if he said the same phrases over and over leading into his set lists. However, this is quite pardonable, because he does hold concerts for a living and there are only so many things you can say to lead into your song. Also, Macklemore’s opening act was way too long– it was DJ Eklipze (Walter Baker Bridgforth, a local student from Berklee), and then the time it took for Macklemore to actually get on stage was around 3.5 hours (minus one hour of standing on line).
Now to focus on the good things! As I was walking to the library after the concert (because a Wendy’s got to study even after flipping her shit several times at a crazy concert), I overhead someone on her phone say, “Was the concert good? Well, it about hope and shit. You know.” But hope is always a good message, and especially so when the performer is so enthusiastic and sincere. Macklemore truly means everything he raps; one cannot feel strangely unmoved when he slips into his speakeasy style, and even amidst a hall of 1,300 screaming women, at the more serious parts, Macklemore feels like he’s just having a conversation with you.
One of the best things about Macklemore is that he does not rap exclusively about booze and sex– like the majority of popular rap and hip-hop artists out there– he actually raps about things that do matter to everyone, our fears and our aspirations, and beating the odds. So yes, “hope and shit” is an amazing topic for a rap and hip-hop concert; it makes you appreciate Macklemore for beyond just a few sick beats.
It was a bare-bones concert, just a few fancy lights; Macklemore rode out on the crowd for a bit, and sprayed the crowd with water several times, and put on funny hats twice and did a silly encore with a cape. The focus of the concert was on Macklemore, and he is a dynamic performer as he mesmerizingly moves around with quite large and exaggerated motions and exhorts people to dance with him. In fact, his preternaturally long and pale arms reminded me of Michael Phelps. Perhaps Macklemore should have tried his hand at swimming before Little League? His trumpet and percussion bud, Owuor Arunga, was quite captivating as well, as they both jammed together, incredibly in sync with each other. Overall, Macklemore is enthusiastically fun to watch on stage.
Another thing I loved about Macklemore’s performance is the time he took to talk to the audience, and show appreciation for them. Macklemore shared with us his impression of my college: (1) Women everywhere he was (2) Harry Potter (3) The most beautiful campus he had ever seen. He also confessed he went skinny-dipping in Lake Waban, which is crazy, since I was doing homework in the library with fantastic a view of the lake when he apparently went skinny-dipping. Of course, in turn, we screamed our guts out for him, and unlike his last five concerts, we did not drop him when he went crowd-surfing.
As someone who is used to Asian concerts in which the performers bow incredibly low, I was extremely touched at the conclusion of the concert, where Macklemore exceeded a 90 degree bow for more than a minute. His humbling, despite his great success– despite performing and being at the MTV Movie Awards the previous night and flying out on a red-eye flight to Boston– really humbles us all. I hope Macklemore never finds a reason to sign with a label, and that he can remain an independent artist. As he reminded us, it is 2013, and he was just certified gold without a label. For college-age students who are just beginning to find their bearings in the real world, being able to follow our dreams even without institutional support strikes a strong chord with us. Beyond his music, Macklemore is thus even more of an inspiring figure.
Just one last, tiny, inconsequential thing. Macklemore is gorgeous. Aside from wearing a wife-beater for 80% of the concert which showcased his well-defined arm musculature, he did a few push-ups on stage and you could clearly see the outline of his backside. It is safe to say, in little under two hours, never has a man satisfied so many women at once.