.::Childish Gambino, 4.3.14::.
Riding the wave of success from new project Because the Internet, Donald Glover came back home for a sold out show at Masquerade Music Park. Encouraged by 4,000 strong, Gambino took us through his releases that spanned the last half decade for The Deep Web Tour. This particular show was my third time seeing him live + he’s an artist I could never become ambivalent about because his stage show is an experience. There’s also something to be said for witnessing the career arc of someone that you identify with over the years. From seeing Gambino in smaller venues like Athens’ Georgia Theater to then selling out Atlanta’s Tabernacle + an outdoor music venue, it’s amazing to see an artist you care about winning. Growing up in Stone Mountain too (off of South Hairston Road what up), when I listen to his music, I hear authenticity. With lines like “every black ‘you’re not black enough’ is a white ‘you’re all the same,’” the sentiment hits home personally. It’s something that many of my friends + I went through going to schools in north DeKalb because they were “better.” It’s this visceral honesty shown in his music about topics like this + so many others that make him different.
As the doors opened on a perfect April evening, I was struck by just how diverse the crowd was. Literally every culture + age group was represented which shows how Gambino creates a mini global meet up at each concert. Only ever seeing him indoors, the combination of energy from the crowd + Gambino together made it seem like the buildings were shaking. Being outdoors seems to be the place that suits his performances with the space for the audience to express whatever they’re feeling without the threat of injuring the fan next to them. The show began with a focus on Because The Internet, with songs like “Telegraph Ave,” “The Worst Guys,” + “3005” which had the crowd taking the lead at some points, screaming lines like “Go home, Roger” all together. It was a true show, interactive with the option for us to use an accompanying app (but really…what exactly is Roscoe’s wetsuit though?), voiceovers, + interludes projected on the screen. There were also appearances by past cuts from Camp like “Bonfire,” “Firefly,” “L.E.S.” + “Heartbeat” which are always even better with crowd accompaniment. The mixtapes also got some shine with the surprises of “So Fly” (!!!), “Got This Money” (!!!), “One Up” (with special guest Steve G. Lover), “Black Faces” + of course “Freaks + Geeks.” The show ended with freestyles dedicated to Atlanta, as Gambino recounted stories about the city (shout out to Northlake Mall) we all wished the show extended for at least a couple more hours.