by Katelynn Browne
Feature & Lists Editor
On Saturday September 15, a few friends and I made the trip down to Madison Square Garden to see our queen, Childish Gambino.
The show opened with the hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, which for the record I still don’t know how to pronounce and its okay if you don’t know how to pronounce it either. The stadium wasn’t full when they began their set, yet the duo still managed to give an energetic performance. They really tried their hardest to get the crowd pumped and engaged, with unfortunately lackluster results.
One of the brothers hopped off stage and ran into the crowd at one point, in an attempt to hype everyone up, which worked a little, but the general feeling in the crowd was mellow. Most people were seated, or trying to find their seats, and only those who had seats by the foot of the stage were really standing and into the performance. Eventually, they finished their set, maintaining the same level of excited energy the entire time – which I admired – and left.
Then it was time for the real show. Childish Gambino appeared on stage, with a single white light beaming upon him, standing with his head bowed, as the beginning of his new song played. I do not recall the name of his new songs – he released two during the concert and all I remember was that they were absolutely incredible, and I couldn’t wait for them to be released for streaming and purchase.
At the start of the first song, the crowd went absolutely nuts. My friends and I also went nuts. (We were part of the crowd after all.) After a minute or so, he began to bust out these mesmerizing dance moves, which were similar to those seen in the “This is America” music video, and at times echoed the choreographic stylings of Michael Jackson, which was super rad.
Soon after the opening song, Gambino told the audience to put away their phones for the duration of the concert, and compared the concert experience we were about to partake in to church. This created a really interesting atmosphere – I’ve never been at a concert where there were only scattered glimmers of cellphone light illuminating the stadium. Normally, at times during concerts, it can feel as if you are watching a performance through the lens of someone else’s cellphone camera, which can sometimes diminish the impact of the experience.
As for whether or not the concert was akin to church – I only wish church was as moving of an experience as Childish Gambino performing Redbone live, hitting high falsettos like no one’s business, dancing, and working the crowd. I didn’t think it was possible to love his music more than I already did, but then he went and did that. He really didn’t have to snap on us that hard like damn.
Aside from the phenomenal talent of Childish Gambino, there was this fantastic electric guitar player who had this incredible solo – Gambino gave him the front and center of the stage and this guy just went HAM. In that moment, I suddenly understood people’s love of rock in a way I never understood people’s love of rock before. There were also phenomenal backup singers and dancers who gave outstanding performances which are not to be overlooked. I really wish I knew the name of that guitarist because he really blew me away.
My only complaint about the concert was regarding the guy who was seated next to me (or rather standing next to me). This guy shows up to the concert with his boys something like 3 minutes before the show starts, scooching their way in front of me and my friends with their cups of beer, dangerously close to our faces, and dangerously close to spilling.
He was having trouble locating his seat due to the darkness of the theatre, and I was like yeah man the seat there (the one next to me) is your seat which was a Horrendous mistake, because my politeness was taken as an invitation for homeboy to talk to me the entire concert.
Like, my guy looked like he was maybe 30, and I’m gonna keep it real with you chief, I was looking high-key underage that day – I think I looked 16, 17 at best (for the record I’m 19, but still.) And he kept making these stupid comments to me throughout the show like “oh I really like this one” and I’m like well yeah, me too fam, that’s why I spent like $70 on concert tickets – to listen to Mr. Glover, and not these sorry attempts at talking to me. He was also like copying my Sick dance moves, and I’m not here for that…Also, he and his boys were making loud comments during the slower and softer songs which was really annoying, and really really took me out of it. He also asked me if one of the dancers/backup singers was his mom. And I was like…fam what? I just didn’t answer that one because that was…dumb.
Anyway, all in all the concert was a fabulous experience – if you ever get the opportunity to see Childish Gambino live, you absolutely should! Just make sure your seat neighbors don’t suck like mine did, and you’ll be golden.