We have been to a ton of concerts over the years and it is not very often that we leave a show and can say with absolute certainty that we have literally felt the music that was pouring forth from the stage, however such was definitely the case with Childish Gambino a.k.a. Donald Glover’s, spectacular performance with his ‘This Is America’ tour at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.
Proving once again that he is the true definition of a Renaissance Man, Gambino took us on a musical journey that was both spiritual and visually stunning. We look at music as a universal language that we can all speak and understand even if we take various messages away and Gambino’s music was truly speaking to us throughout the course of his 90-minute long set. We almost wish that it could have gone on all night!
Sadly, this may be one of the last times that we will see Childish Gambino, Glover’s alter-ego, performing live, as he revealed to the sold-out Philly crowd that we should consider ourselves “lucky to have purchased tickets to Childish Gambino’s last tour” and for as busy as this man is with all of his various projects such as FX’s “Atlanta”, Disney’s live-action “Lion King” film and of course his work with the “Star Wars” franchise, we can’t be too surprised! Seriously, don’t know how he has the time to even sleep, let alone rock out in arenas across the nation. But, somehow he makes it work, and beautifully at that!
Gambino draws the crowd in like a magnet and despite the fact that his set list consisted of mainly new material off his forth-coming (and possibly final) album it did not matter in the least, as each song was incredibly engaging and the stage set-up and lighting effects were phenomenal. This could have been considered a risk for some artists, but Gambino has enough faith in his music and his fans to know that his efforts would be appreciated and no one could ever say that Gambino/Glover follows the norm.
He very much marches to the beat of his own drum (and it’s worth nothing that his dance moves are hella tight) and there is no one that is going to put this man’s music into any type of genre box. We loved that he spotlighted his live backing band introducing all of them after they played “Late Night In Kauai” and it was amazing to see Gambino get up close and personal with his audience while performing “Stand Tall” from a location out in the stands among the fans somewhere in the Section 101 or 101 area of the arena.
Gambino has the ability to flawlessly flow between various genres of both hip-hop and R&B, adding in some tribal rhythms and searing guitars. This is especially evident on songs such as “Boogieman”, “Have Some Love” and “Riot” and it was especially inspiring to hear Gambino tell the crowd about the importance of believing in your dreams and not asking anyone’s permission to do something and to just “go do it!” He appeared very humbled by the crowds reaction and very appreciative to where his career has taken him up to this point.
Gambino was even able to touch on a more intimate side with “Terrified” which featured some incredibly visuals on the two massive oblong video screens the flanked the middle of the stage. What was even more visually mesmerizing was the amazing light show that utilized the video screens as well during “Spirits’ before Gambino had his back-up dancers hit the stage and they broke into his viral smash hit “This Is America” to close out the main part of the set.
Gambino then returned to the stage to finish out his amazing performance with a four song encore set that included “Sober”, “V.3005″, ‘IV. Sweatpants” and of course his Grammy-winning track “Redbone” much to the delight of the crowd. While we may be saying farewell to Glover’s Childish Gambino alter-ego with this tour, we certainly do not think this is the last that we will be hearing from him musically, as many of the new tracks he is sharing on this tour, only showcase his continued growth as an artist and we absolutely can’t wait to see just what he will have up his sleeve next!