Inspiring independent artists everywhere, Macklemore proved Saturday night that one does not need the help of a label to put on an amazing performance.
With only one album and a little over a year in the spotlight, fans who semi-packed the USF Sun Dome may have not expected much of a show from an indie rapper, but Macklemore pushed past expectations and created a show that not only busted lines set by seasoned veterans, but created new heights for them to reach.
Ryan Lewis was the first to hit the stage to the tune of his solo track from the album,“BomBom” that fit perfectly with the eclectic, somewhat kitschy stage that included faux foliage and a life sized taxidermy stuffed bear.
Donned in a Michael Jackson-esque gold sequined jacket, Macklemore rose in midst of fog like a god.
As fans screamed their hearts out, Macklemore calmly said, “Tampa, welcome to the heist,” as pyrotechnic fireworks shot off behind him, prefacing the intimate, high-energy, visually stimulating party that would take place over the next two hours.
He began with “10,000 Hours” and covered almost every song from his critically acclaimed album, “The Heist,” though it was a bit disappointing not to hear “Jimmy Iovine,” a song that touts his experience with trying to sign with a label and why he chose the independent route, a choice which award after award, and radio hit after radio hit, proves to be the best decision he had ever made.
Though Macklemore is sure to have a trunk filled with clothing from a thrift shop, he turned to the partially tacky clad audience for something to wear as he performed the hit that launched his career, “Thrift Shop.” What he settled on was a “Drunk Santa” sweatshirt and a Davey Crockett raccoon hat. He added his own fur vest to complete the ensemble as he performed.
“Thrift Shop” was where the party truly began as a confetti shower began to pour, not ending until the song did. This was not the only song that confetti rained from the roof, probably ensuring that the only people who did not enjoy Macklemore’s visit was those of the Sun Dome custodial staff.
Though nearly every performance commanded the audience to sing, dance and jump along as though it was a giant party, Macklemore showed his true sincerity, respect and appreciation to the fans between every song.
Fans were able to see his true concern and passion for equality in America with the words he spoke before Mary Lambert joined him on stage for his highly acclaimed, “Same Love.”
“I believe in my heart, in my very being, that there is no institution, there is no government, there is no school, there is no religion that can tell you who to love,” he said to an audience that cheered in agreement. “It is up to you. I believe in love, in same love.”
His stance on the politically driven issue was expressed in more than just words as the audience could see the true passion in his performance as he belted out the song.
This was not the only time in which the audience got a look at the more vulnerable side of the artist, as he spoke candidly and frankly about his issues with drugs and alcohol and expressing the true importance and impact that Lewis has made in his life.
“It was the most important friend request I ever accepted,” he said of how he met Lewis through the outdated social hub, Myspace.
Not all stories he shared was heartfelt, there were a lot of silly anecdotes that displayed his goofy nature such as the off the wall tale of dinners with Snoop Dogg, or Snoop Lion, and Mariah Carey which he used as a catalyst to get the audience pumped up for his highly energetic performance of “Can’t Hold Us” that created so much bass pumping throughout the audience that combined with everyone jumping along, I thought for sure the arena would collapse.
He “ended” the set with the very touching, tear-inducing ballad, “Wing$.” He stood for humble applause, and when he left, some of the crowd began to leave which was a huge mistake because the encore rivaled with the same amount of intensity and fervor as the main show.
He came back to the stage as his British alter-ego, “Sir RavenBowie,” sporting a sequined cape and outrageous long blonde wig, as he performed “And We Danced,” a single from a 2009 mix tape that he released before he became popular.
In an effort to prove there was a Macklemore before “The Heist,” he continued turning the concert into a St.Patrick’s Day carnival with his over-the-top performance of “Irish Celebration” from “The Vs. EP.”
Though that intense performance would have been a great ending – it wasn’t. After telling the audience that the Sun Dome was telling him to wrap it up, they were breaking curfew.
“F— the system,” he said, solidifying his anti-establishment persona. “They don’t tell us when to turn the music off, we tell them. They don’t control the music. The people control the music.”
He then performed “Can’t Hold Us” with the same force and enthusiasm as an hour earlier.
The rest of the country got a taste of what a Macklemore show is like with a live performance of that same song from Miami on Sunday night’s American Music Awards. Hopefully fans will not take a Macklemore show in their hometown for granted again, as they should be running to see this amazing performance.