Macklemore’s second visit to the Madison area in this up and coming rapper’s relatively short career proved a true reflection of how far he has come. Though he has been recording and performing for some time, Macklemore’s popularity has been on the rise since the viral popularity of his music video “Same Love.” His subsequent skyrocket in mainstream publicity, appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show most notably, has since made him a popular name in the music scene. And so on November 29th, the excitement and energy for Macklemore’s show couldn’t have been higher.
By 5:00 pm there were already several dozen fans eagerly waiting in the cold weather for a show whose doors didn’t even open for three more hours. Opening acts eXPerience and Dee-1 set the tone for the evening, greatly involving the audience by bringing up dancers and rappers from the audience and perfectly priming the energy level of the fans for the main event.
A rousing rendition of “Ten Thousand Hours” kicked off the main act of the sold-out show. With nearly all the fans either rapping along to the well-known verses or simply listening in awe, sheer rapture pervaded the audience and it showed in their unadulterated excitement. “Crew Cuts” and “Life Is Cinema” followed the opening number, receiving increasing audience excitement.
The performances throughout the set were juxtaposed with personal and candid moments with the Seattle-based rapper. During one such break in the show, Macklemore asked to “borrow” a fur coat from an audience member, only to perform one of the most popular tracks from The Heist, “Thrift Shop.”
The proclaimed “Wisconsin Bear Jacket” received it’s own moment of fame as it crowd surfed its way back to its owner, much to the delight of concert-goers. Macklemore also addressed a recent scandal of a Michigan public school teacher who was suspended for playing his song “Same Love” for her students, and in her honor, sang the song as tribute to her.
A similar, but much more serious, digression between songs showed Macklemore’s diversity, and his intimacy with his fans. Before performing “Starting Over,” a personal, autobiographical song rooted in the trials of his relapse and the challenges of overcoming addiction, Macklemore discussed his past drug abuse. The audience was nearly silent during this intimate moment, and this reverence was acknowledged after the performance by an impressed Macklemore.
Crowd pleasers like “Wing and “Gold” followed with the same success as his previous performances. As Macklemore concluded his set, the audience was still hyped up, energetic, and craving an encore, immediately chanting “And We Danced!” the title of his popular party anthem released prior to The Heist.
To uproarious applause and cheers, Macklemore re-appeared on stage to perform this song for the audience, and then to supply another encore in his song “Irish Celebration.” The crowd was satisfied, ecstatic, and still awash in the emotions of the show as Macklemore finally concluded his performance. The night was a massive success for Macklemore and his fans: Having returned to Madison, a now quickly rising star, the rapper refuses to forget his past, allowing him to provide his fans with an unforgettable concert experience.