BY TER STAFF
Music fans in Chicago had their work cut out for them Saturday night, as many were forced to choose between The Breaks Music Festival at Toyota Park, headlined by the legendary Wu Tang Clan, or the headlining show from the rapper who got his rap name from an online Wu Tang Clan name generator, Childish Gambino. But if you ask us, those who made the right decision went with the latter, as Gambino (Donald Glover) likely put on his last show in Chicago, and it was a memorable one at that.
The night was one that Chicago will not soon forget for many reasons, so let’s just start with the first. “If you’re at this show, then you know this is the last Gambino tour ever,” Glover told the packed crowd at the United Center. Throughout his rising music career, Childish Gambino has put on a number of diverse and amazing performances in the Windy City, so if Saturday night was truly the last, you should not have missed out.
From his I AM DONALD Tour stop for 1,000 fans at Park West in 2011 where a young Glover performed a half stand-up half music show, to his tour with Chicago’s own, Chance The Rapper, before Chance started to receive national attention, and of course his rainy Lollapalooza performance in 2014, there are too many great Childish Gambino memories in the city to count. It’s very fitting that Glover will retire Childish Gambino’s history in Chicago with a headlining performance at the historic 20,000+ capacity United Center.
The performance was also one you shouldn’t have missed because it was Chicago’s first chance to hear tracks from Gambino’s critically acclaimed Awaken, My Love! LP, as well as new tracks from Childish Gambino’s last album (which has yet to be released). Glover even chose a new track (‘Algorythm’) to open up the set. Despite being a record that the majority of the crowd wasn’t familiar with, fans were feeling the vibes from the very start.
While many fans would have loved to hear songs from the first half of Gambino’s discography, ‘Freaks and Geeks’, ‘Bonfire’, ‘You See Me’ and ‘Heartbeat’ to name a few, Chicago was able to enjoy a number of tracks that they haven’t heard from the Georgia-native on a live stage.
Last night was also a special one, and unique from all tour stops to follow, because Glover dedicated his 2016 song ‘Riot’ to Mac Miller, who passed away on Friday. “He was the sweetest guy, this kid, he just loved music,” Glover told the crowd, while asking those with cellphones to not record. Before performing ‘Riot’, Glover continued, “I love you, Mac. And I just want to tell you guys I love you, and this song is for him.”
Early in their careers, coming up in the post-internet world around the same time, Miller and Glover both experienced criticism for their music being subjectively corny to some (as he told the crowd), and this was just one reason Glover relates to Mac on a wide scale.
Finally, the show was a special one not because of all the context surrounding it but just generally because it was a great performance. While we are sure Wu Tang kept the crowd on their feet, Donald Glover has put together a tour that he describes not as a concert but as church. The low lighting and artistic visuals throughout the night were a joy to watch and Glover’s dancing and energy were second to none.
And to complete an already amazing night, Glover treated fans with a four song encore of ‘Sober’, ‘3005’, ‘Sweatpants’ and of course his Grammy winning single ‘Redbone’, a perfect farewell to his loyal fans from the Second City.
Check out our photos from last night’s performance below and get your tickets for the remaining dates of the This Is America Tour here.
Photos by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration