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AU's Student-Run Internet-Only Radio


AU's Student-Run Internet-Only Radio


Macklemore Concert Review


On the second stop of Macklemore’s highly anticipated U.S. leg of the BEN Tour following the release of his latest album, BEN, Macklemore was joined by 6,000 people in The Anthem to sing along to iconic releases like “Thrift Shop” and new masterpieces like “NO BAD DAYS.”

The rapper was on tour in Europe this summer for the first time since the release of GEMINI in 2017. After a few years off, followed by the pandemic, fans were unsure how the BEN album and tour would go. Macklemore himself admitted at the D.C. show that he and his team were conservative when choosing locations because they didn’t want to overshoot. However, after attending his performance, I can confirm that Macklemore’s glory days are far from over.

At 9:10 p.m., the lights dimmed at The Anthem, and I was ready to see Macklemore perform for the second time in my life. After seeing him in 2018 when he toured for GEMINI with Kesha, he became somewhat of a guilty pleasure artist, but watching him run out onto the stage and start singing “CHANT” from his latest album, I knew I made the right decision coming back to see him again.

“Thrift Shop,” “NO BAD DAYS,” and “White Walls” followed, and the mixture of Macklemore’s energy and the crowd’s thrill was insane to witness. I go to concerts at least once or twice a month, and never in my life have I seen a crowd so excited to be there. The cheers and screams were the best addition to everyone jumping around to the upbeat, fan-favorite songs.

As he transitioned into “Same Love,” a song that broke boundaries in the hip-hop community and mainstream culture around gay marriage, I was reminded why I became a fan of Macklemore. He truly cares about other people and his fans in a way I’ve never seen before. During this performance, the people around me swayed and held up hearts with their hands as we all sang with Macklemore, professing our love for love.

“These Days,” “Wing$,” and “I NEED” were next on the setlist, each of them ones that fans were eager to sing their hearts out to. “These Days” is one of my favorite songs, as I love its edge of nostalgia and positivity. And, of course, the way Macklemore performs it with so much soul makes me feel like everything will be okay.

Then, he moved to the most emotional and touching part of the evening: “Otherside” followed by “Starting Over.” He doesn’t usually play “Starting Over,” but on his Instagram, Macklemore posted about attending an event held by Mobilize Recovery here in D.C., so my guess is he performed this song because of that event. “Starting Over” is a gut-wrenching track about his struggles with addiction and his relapse. I could tell as he sang it that it was hard to get through, but when he was finished, I could see tears in his eyes as all 6,000 people in The Anthem roared applause for him for almost three minutes straight. He spoke to the members of the audience struggling with addiction, telling them they aren’t alone and don’t have to struggle in silence and that if there’s any time to start sobriety, it’s today.
His speech after “Starting Over” was absolutely beautiful and left me in awe. I bought tickets for this concert for fun because Macklemore was my favorite artist in 2018, but I left the show after a few more songs, him throwing tequila shots into the audience, and his encore of “Good Old Days” and “Can’t Hold Us,” an even bigger fan than ever.

Macklemore’s intimacy and interaction with his fans, even in a group of 6,000, was incredible. His stage presence, choice of songs, musicians, DJ, backup dancers, and even his outfits told the story of a man who just wants to do what he loves and make people happy—a five-star performance from Ben “Macklemore” Haggerty.

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    Melinda LeeOct 6, 2023 at 12:08 pm

    What an amazing review, makes me want to buy tickets right now!