Macklemore at The O2 Dublin – Review & Photos

macklemore-o2-3Macklemore at The O2 Dublin – Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, easily one of the best concerts I have attended this year so far. Both they and their support act, Chance the Rapper, certainly knew how to get the first night of their sold-out show in the O2. Admittedly, rap is not my favourite musical genre but since he released his first debut EP, “The Language of my World” I’ve always been excited at the thought of watching Macklemore perform a live set.

It’s fair to say that no other venue would have suited the pair as well as the O2 did, sell-out was the perfect word to describe it, not a single seat was empty and the delight at seeing the platinum selling artists was practically palpable. Their support act, Chance the Rapper, certainly didn’t waver at the thought of such a monstrous gig. Indeed, he took it all in his stride, he and his DJ, Oreo, got the crowd moving from the onset. Using a mix samples from Kanye West, Jay Z, and Baauer, Chance knew how to play upon some of the rap singles this year and implement them to create a distinctly lively crowd. I had never heard of the Chicago performer prior to the show and many of the people in the audience admitted they had not yet he was more than capable getting the audience enthusiastic for one of his biggest support performances in Ireland. It’s hard to believe that Chance the Rapper is only 20 years of age; it’s fair to say what he lacks in years he makes up for in musical prowess. He has a talented mixture between lively rap tracks and more mellow and pensive tracks. His track, “Everybody’s Something” has a really profound message, the importance of valuing one’s self is the biggest message in it and I think this was a song that really stuck with the crowd. Should Chance come back for a performance in Ireland in his own right, I think this is the song that most people will want to see him perform. Yet, his song “Favourite Song” has a distinctly more upbeat rhythm and this was the track that got the crowd jumping. It was evident that Chance was focused on getting the audience as pumped as possible for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis; his main focus of the night was on getting the crowd moving and chanting along. By the end of his performance, everyone was so absolutely pumped that the expectations for the dynamic duo couldn’t have been any higher.

When Macklemore and Ryan Lewis arrived on stage, the sheer delight of the audience reached the height of enthusiasm. Donned in a green Ireland jersey, Macklemore spent the first couple of minutes commending the audience of their devotion to his music. He classed Ireland as his second home, admitting the last time he and Ryan Lewis performed; it had been to an audience of little more than 200 people. Macklemore spent a considerable amount of time throughout his performance speaking about Ireland and how it was his favourite venue. I’m always somewhat dubious when artists claim that whatever town they’re playing in is “the best place ever!” yet Macklemore genuinely seemed to mean what he said. This is mad even more believable when he performed “Another Irish Celebration”. He did so with such rampant enthusiasm and sheer delight that the stadium physically shook as each audience member did a little Irish jig in his or her seat. His performance of “White Walls” was also phenomenal in its own right, his movement and enthusiasm on the stage is just tangible. There’s nothing worse than paying to see a musician perform only for them to be stationary on the stage while their dancers dance around them. In fact, the only time I saw Macklemore stay in one spot for more than a millisecond was for the more gentle songs such as “Same Love” and “Start Over”. For the former, he really encouraged the audience to focus on the real meaning of the song, the need for a greater expansion of civil rights and this shone through in his emotive performance, the passion he sang with was evident throughout. For the latter, he admitted that “Start Over” held a truly personal meaning, having written it during his relapse into addiction. One of the nicest things about Macklemore as a performer is exactly what he admitted on stage last night, he is open in his music and he is exactly the same person in his home as he is on his music and whilst on stage.

Naturally, the creative sounds of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis reached a pivotal point when they performed their chart toppers, “Can’t Hold Us” and “Thrift Shop”. Their performances were just as phenomenal live as they are on their album. It’s easy to see that they are both extremely well suited to live performances; Ryan Lewis seems to thrive as a music producer during these tracks. I think it’s easy to forget about Ryan Lewis and the influence he has upon the music, without him, there is no beat. The performance of “Thrift Shop” was made by the person who decided to wear a full-length fur coat, which Macklemore borrowed for his performance, it’s obvious that there is no celebrity complex to him, he loves music and doesn’t forget his roots easily. He has no issue with donning the costumes from his music videos, if you’re lucky enough to see him tonight make sure you get your cameras out during “And We Danced” when he becomes Raven Bowie, the most hilarious alter ego ever. Definitely one of the best gigs of this year, the enthusiasm is simply phenomenal. If you are going tonight be sure to get there early and bring your fur coats!

Review by Elaine McDonald

Photos by David Doyle


Lucy Ivan

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