(Women’s Bathroom In Capitol One Arena, DC. – 2 Women Washing Hands At Sink – Intermission Before Main Act.)
Woman 1: Wait. So you mean to tell me Childish Gambino making these type of money moves?
Woman 2: Yes girl, he is living his BEST life!!!
Woman 1: Yassss! He betta WWWEEERRRRKKKK! I remember seeing his flyer posted up in the lobby of the Ira Aldridge Theatre on Howard University’s campus back in like 2011, 2012 or something.
Woman 2: Oh really! I believe it. He’s been grinding hard for a while now! Quiet as it’s kept, he’s one of the biggest artists out right now without the hype of being one of the biggest artists out right now. He just sold out Madison Square Garden. The dude is doper than dope.
Woman 1: Yeah. One of the dopest clearly! I really can’t wait to see him now! Let me get back to my seat. It was nice meeting you.
Woman 2: Nice meeting you too. Its about to be real lit!
The illusion vs. Reality was mind blowing as I witnessed the number of fans flooding into Capital One Arena. Just within a few blinks of my eyes, a modest sized crowd, turned into a packed house. Knowing that this 20,356 seat arena in Washington, DC holds a little under 18,506 seats for a concert setting, made it amazing to watch it fill to capacity. Many of these individuals not even fueled by saturated promotion tactics but instead driven to support without influence, creating mostly, direct organic sales. It is powerful to witness that these fans actually love Childish Gambino and all of the wonderful elements that make him hugely successful, yet very relatable. Realizing “This Is America Tour” has that kind of pull, speaks volumes toward the respect level given to Childish Gambino’s long history of greatness and perseverance. It’s crazy to think, someone of his intellectual intelligence, would grow up feeling outcast as the one who never fit in. This goes to show you just how many people felt the same way and that when you thought it was just you, thousands of others were going through too. However, I must send a huge shout out to the focused state of an introvert, moving through ones life having to befriend and learn one’s self. This process of self-recognition and acceptance can turn out to make you similar to a Childish Gambino, and even position the possibility of achieving his level of success.
Looking around at the crowd, there was much diversity and many representations of self-expression from hair color choices to wardrobe explorations. The vibe was freeing and fun to exist in as you could actually believe that this audience could’ve each been Gambino’s best friends.
Finally, the lights went down & the show began. A laser beaming blue light appeared from across the room, traveling over top of the floor seats and targeting the center stage. Going along with a slowly growing, aggressive instrumental, this laser beam began creating hypnotizing never ending swirls on the two large tower shaped digital screens. Then the music stops and our attention is redirected to the extended portion of the stage that stretched out to the center of the audience, ending in a octagon shaped design. Childish Gambino only noticed once a spotlight guided our eye to him standing, hidden in plain sight, surrounded in mild fog and dim lighting.
Dressed in a very similar outfit worn in his extremely popular viral music video, “This Is America”, he wore cream pants with no shirt, just a muscular oiled bare chest. He stood almost frozen as a blue vertical laser beam appeared directly behind him, vibrating to this beautiful melody being sung. Piercing our ears and demanding our undivided attention, “As we stand together, promise me that we’ll teach the children that we must be free. There is no joy in sorrow, no truth untold and the cruel above us are tired and old.”, rang out. With heavy substance embedded within these lyrics, this needed message set the tone of the vivid education and emotion about to hit us in our hearts and minds.
As Childish Gambino progressed in song throughout the night, he hit us with countless hits such as: “Algorythm”, “Summertime Magic”, “Riot”, “Feels Like Summer”, “This Is America”, “3005” and his ending hit: “Redbone”. Out of all the amazing songs, there were a few stand out moments to me that put the icing on this delicious musical cake he served us on this night. #1 He adamantly showcased his incredible band with impeccable musicianship throughout the night that continuously blew my mind. One time in particular, Gambino left the stage and began showing us behind the scene footage of him walking down a hallway, up stairs and down another hallway during which, the band members faces were being shown on the biggest digital screen in their element, rocking out an instrumental version of “Late Night In Kauai”. As this is happening, minds are wondering, where is Gambino going? Just for him to randomly appear one section over, to the left of where I was seated. Directly interjecting himself in the crowd, he thanked his band by calling their names out individually, which I really thought was so genuine of him to see the importance of doing. His amazing band members are: Guitarist: Sam Sugarman, Drummer: Chris Hartz, Bassist: Thomas Drayton, Guitarist: Ray Suen, Percussionist: Dani Markham, and Pianist: Lynette Williams.
#2 He featured his backing vocalists numerous times and made sure their microphones were not only turned up but also balanced. You could tell time was spent in sound check and that Gambino sincerely cares about every entity of creativity being displayed and projected clearly & precisely. #3 He featured four dancers who represented various sizes, one being a plus sized male who stole our hearts with his dance moves! Each dancer came to SLAY each choreographed movement by Sherrie Silver who also danced! Now, I know I said a few things stood out but I must also include one other moment. #4 Gambino shared with us new work entitled: “Spirits”, which let us know for a fact he thankfully is still in creation mode and there will be more great music to come.
You see, early on in the show, Gambino took the time to acknowledge that this will be his final tour but he was grateful that DC always shows him enormous love & sells out his shows every time. He made sure to also announce that: This would not be your regular rapper’s show but instead, an experience! So, put your phones away because he was going to take us to church! … He kept his word because this was an experience for sure and it also was a surprise in transfer of energy. I expected Childish Gambino to perform at a high intensity but the way his fans embraced that, replicated almost immediately. We all had seats but you could definitely forget about sitting to enjoy this concert experience. No mame! No sir! You were going to turn up, while standing, and that would be your only option. So for those prepping to go, choose your shoes wisely.
Gambino’s live performance brought out the essence you find in a 1970’s artist where their fearless expression was explosive. As I watched him entertain effortlessly, I couldn’t help but see a bit of Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye and George Clinton all mixed into his vocal delivery and stage presence. Overall, Childish Gambino put on a magnificent, award winning concert experience!
His lighting alone was incredible, totally brilliant and down to a science. There was no mistakes or anything that the human eye could catch. This addition to an already dope show took everything creative to another stratosphere. I can’t help but wonder if the same amazing men: Alex Lebay and Joseph Picard of Future Weapons and JoePicard, who did that incredible lighting design for Gambino’s SNL performance of “This Is America”, were behind Childish Gambino’s amazing laser and lighting design for this tour? Round of applause to whoever did this! ….Uuumm! Side note: Where is the award for Best Tour Concept, Performance, Production Crew, Choreography, Lighting, Set, Wardrobe, etc.? Chhhiiiiilllleeeee, I need to know! I believe we all would see more artists taking their craft seriously and diving deeper into their creativity. I mean, there is so much that goes into the planning and creation of a tour. By the time the audience sees it, all of the hard work has been ran countless of times from band, dance, and vocal rehearsals. To production crews and lighting technicians joining in and making the beauty of the hard labor come to life on stage simultaneously! ….and lets not get into the logistics of the legal and lodging factors. Wwhhheewww! It takes a whole lot and many should be awarded for the genius of it all. …I’m just saying! …..Got deg-nabit, you see, a show this amazing, will have your mind going. LOL!
Now, if you have gotten to this point and still some how am not sure who Childish Gambino is, let me fill you in:
Childish Gambino is the musical Alter-ego of Donald Glover. When combining the accolades that fall under both names, He is multi-talented Actor, Comedian, Singer, Writer, Rapper, DJ, and more. He was born in California and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He has put out a hand full of mix-tapes: “Sick Boi”, “Poindexter”, “I’m Just A Rapper”, “I’m Just A Rapper 2”, “Culdesac”, “Royalty”, and “STN MTN”. 3 EP Albums: “EP”, “Kauai” and “Summer Pack” (His newest project released just in July 2018 under RCA records). As well as, 3 LP Albums: “Camp” and “Because The Internet”, with the most recent being: “Awaken My Love”, released in December of 2016. It is these 3 LP’s, Summer Pack EP and of course the non album single “This Is America”, that was the motivation for “This Is America Tour”. The single “This Is America” alone, rose up to number 1 on the US Billboard charts under the R&B/ Hip-Hop and Rap categories. “Redbone”, also rose up to number 12 on the Hot 100 R&B Charts, sold more than 4 million units and helped him win a Grammy for the Best Traditional R&B Performance. To understand his music, is to understand that he is unique, unapologetic, culturally conscious, ambitious, goal driven, loves himself and is as authentic as one can get.
I commend Childish Gambino on being such a thought-provoking individual with an ability to source all of his learned knowledge, natural care and concern, collectively within music and lyrics. Using musical notes to note significant factors and in turn, instill knowledge in hopes of us all taking note, so we can all stay woke, makes him just that dope!!!
Childish Gambino, though a rare breed of hope and greatness, has accomplished his goals of triggering the mind and expressing the soul artistically. Allowing his theories to influence the masses this world still tries to corrupt, Gambino is the force to be reckoned with. He has taken a stand to become the subconscious most of us need to reset our outlook, priorities and expectations of our lives within the world we exist in.
West coast and the south, get ready because he is bring this ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY A-M-A-Z-I-N-G concert experience straight to a city and state near you. We here at CONCERT DAILY, express our urgency for you to get your tickets now so you do not miss this inspiring and moving, musical opportunity that will positively affect your lives!
Story By: @MarquitaCheron
About The Author: Marquita Cheron is a Jazzy-Soul/R&B Singer/Songwriter, Correspondent, Writer and overall Music Enthusiast; who has a love for every positive angle of the Music & Entertainment industry. Simply on a quest to reveal the greatness of amazing artists and their music to the masses, while also being a contributor of it herself.