Photo via @mariah_wormald
Childish Gambino — a.k.a. singer-rapper-actor-producer Donald Glover — brought the crowd together last night in Vancouver for what he says will be his final Gambino tour. The show was defined by a certain peak in his career where the songs that he performed illuminated the immediate era and culture of its time and the evolution of his artistry. This collective feeling — which really is the essence of the ultimate concert experience — left fans wishing they could see him a hundred times over.
Gambino starts by prefacing the show, “this ain’t a concert, I’m taking y'all to CHURCH" as he played a mix of material, both old and new, that warranted both wild jumping and quiet observation. Visually, the presentation was stunning, with an arena-filling light show, and a pair of 50-foot tall video banks that rotated between the centre and the sides of the stage. At one point during the show, the cameraman followed Gambino offstage and trailed him backstage. As the crowd waited in anticipation, he roamed through a series of hallways in the arena proper, where he walked past the concession stands, and finally appeared at the entrance of one of the sections, where he intimately continued his concert through the aisle.
The show was truly a testament to his talent and magnetism that he can not only carry but radiate energy through a 90-minute concert, on a giant stage by himself. From his singing and rapping, to his trademark, loose-limbed, muscle-jerking dancing and animated facial expressions, there was no question that Glover is comfortable in his element.
Just when the crowd thought that they had seen the last of Gambino, he graced the stage again for a four-song encore: “Sober,” “3005,” “Sweatpants,” and finally the Grammy-winning classic soul groove “Redbone” which had the crowd in awe of this multi-talented artist.
As the lights came up, a young gentleman turned to his friend, “DAMN, this got me thinking we need to go to church more often.” There is no question that Gambino made good on his promise for the night. The This is America Tour served almost as a symbolic funeral for Childish Gambino. As a successful send-off and a representation of the evolution of his career, there is no doubt that we will see more of Donald Glover in the years to come.