The tone was set right out of the gate, with the brass instruments causing cheers before breaking into Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight. Macklemore came out jumping up and down, singing the first song on his hit album, Gemini. The background screen flashed with shots of Michael Jordan, old time schools, and scenic shots of Ireland. With two dancers, three to four musicians, and a singer or two up on stage with him, Macklemore had the Fillmore in Philadelphia engaged from beginning to end. Hitting the crowd with some local tidbits, from Philly cheese-steaks to Allen Iverson to the 76ers jersey he put on for a few songs, he gave the concert an intimate feel for a sold out venue. After Firebreather and Marmalade, it was time for a throwback, and the audience was popping tags with Thrift Shop. By no surprise, this was the biggest crowd rocker yet, as he came out in a large fur coat and pointed the microphone to the audience several times to be met with his lyrics chanted back in strong unison.
Then things slowed down, and Macklemore spoke of acceptance and unity being necessary in a country with such divisive leadership. This was no surprise for the outspoken activist who has produced songs such as White Privilage II and made public social media posts on his disappointment with the election results in 2016. This was the ideal transition into Same Love, where Mary Lambert graced the stage with her beautiful vocals. Scenes of gay pride parades and celebrations flashed behind her, hitting every member of the audience with all of the feels.
The stage darkened, and while still dark, “Oompa loompa doompety doo. I’ve got a perfect puzzle for you” echoed in the hall. Then out comes Macklemore, in a purple coat and orange top hat, singing Willy Wonka with visuals from the original movie on screen. After Corner Store, a powerful a capella of Otherside, and Intentions, it was my favorite number of the night- Can’t Hold Us. Few concerts have everyone so engaged, with the entire place jumping and clapping to the beat. Macklemore’s energy was at it’s peak, standing out in the audience, fist pumping, lights flashing. Even as the song ended, the crowd still roared as Macklemore and everyone on stage held their hands in the air.
The set concluded with Dance Off. With the two backup dancers having a dance off of their own, Macklemore announced the two females would pick an audience member each to bring up on stage. Although I was way too far in the back to be picked, I would have crushed it with some Irish Dance that would have made the proud Irish-American go nuts… but oh well. The set concluded, and Macklemore thanked Philadelphia.
Back for his encore, Macklemore and crew came out stepping to Downtown, possibly the second crowd favorite only unable to edge out Can’t Hold Us. Then, it was time for the Gemini hits to close the show, with Good Old Days and of course, Glorious. Announcing that his grandma would be so disappointed if he didn’t sing Glorious, Macklemore shut the place down with confetti flying at the end of the song. Thanking the audience one last time, he spoke about how performing has been his dream since he was 6 years old, and how Glorious has no major record backing it which means so much to him. The place cheered from beginning to end, and the sincerity that Macklemore showed made us all feel like we were right there on stage with him.