|Photo courtesy of Keegan DeJong|
Finally, Childish Gambino (AKA Donald Glover; AKA Troy Barnes from Community) took the stage. He had a full band with him: guitar, bass, drums, keys, and a laptop. They opened with "Outside" quickly followed by "Firefly," the first two tracks off Camp, his first official LP release. His flow was just as tight as the album, never missing a beat. He performed most of his hits, including material going all the way back to 2010's Culdesac mixtape.
The stage set up was very simple. There were a few trees on stage to set the camp atmosphere. The lights were few, but they were used well. The large screen behind him was used in several different ways depending on the song. It was used for still photos, graphics, lyrics, and video. All of the lyrics always matched up with the screen exactly.
The encore was really something. It included one of the very recent singles from his website ("some new shit," as he called it), two freestyles, and a currently unreleased song. The crowd was engaged the entire time. When he said "throw your hands up," no one even questioned it.
This concert only proved to me the truth in Gambino's music. His lyrics are often about overcoming adversity. Despite all of the troubles in his life, he has still managed to become a successful musician, actor, and comedian. Today, influential music sites like Pitchfork and Stereogum don't like him at all. Even with them working against him, he produced an incredible sold out show. To me, that is the real awesomeness of Childish Gambino and it's a message everyone can relate to.