Recently, Childish Gambino postponed his remaining tour dates due to a self-inflicted injury he received while onstage in Texas. Hopefully, I speak for everyone when I say that I hope he heals well and is doing alright.
My best friend and I went to see Gambino (and Rae Sremmurd) on September 19th in Washington D.C. at the Capitol One Arena and it was the best concert I'd ever been to. I've been to four concerts in the past two calendar years and this one was by far the best. This isn't a play-by-play, just an overall summary and review of the show.
Rae Sremmurd opened the show with a very energetic set, during which they performed most of their singles and asked us to yell "SREMLIFE" several times. Though I wasn't into their music, I appreciated them hyping up the crowd and performing songs that they thought we'd know. But the show did not begin for me until they left the stage.
When Gambino came onstage, everyone in the audience was forever changed; he said that he was taking us to church, and I felt that. After performing the introduction he asked us to put our phone's down so that we could share the experience together, which is probably the best advice I've ever received. Even though we were sitting in 400-level seats (the nosebleeds), it felt like I was sitting right at his feet watching every glide of his feet. He managed to balance perfectly capturing the audience in a trance with unreleased music and having us scream at the top of our lungs by performing our favorites. He also had an absolutely fantastic band and group of dancers and singers.
About halfway through the show, he made his way into the audience and sang the first half of Stand Tall. Then he got back onstage and finished his set and did an encore performance.
Childish Gambino is an excellent performer, not just because he's great live and didn't forget his lyrics, but because he has a way of making everyone in the audience feel special. When he speaks it feels like he's talking right to you; it feels as if the message of the song was conceptualized just to help you through your own problems.
I was left with one question after the show. Childish Gambino performed songs from most of his popular projects, save "CAMP" and "R O Y A L T Y" (in fact, you can view the full set list here). My question was, why? Are these simply too old? Do they not fit in with the tour and the spectrum of his current shows? Gambino is a man of many questions, so I think it's safe to say that we may never find out.
After the show, my friend and I debated Gambino's "church" comment. The newer songs he performed "Algorythm" and "Spirits" definitely seemed more spiritual than the rest of his music, but she couldn't understand what he meant since he still performed songs like "IV. Sweatpants" and "II. Worldstar." In my opinion, he was referring to the message he was trying to spread. If you go back and listen to Awaken, My Love! you can see that the album preaches without being preachy. It advocates for togetherness, spreading love, believing in oneself and some of it was written in reaction to important world events. His new music also seems to do something similar.
While this is the last Childish Gambino tour, I hope that there is more music in store in addition to more live performances. Gambino's presence in music has changed it for the better and it will likely never be the same.