Childish Gambino Kicks Off Tour In Atlanta

 Original photo by Greg Noire via RapUp

Original photo by Greg Noire via RapUp

“This is not a concert, this is fucking church.”

There aren’t many artists that would make skipping all of your classes and traveling to Atlanta from Miami on a Thursday night worth it; but the moment Childish Gambino took the stage on the first stop of his This is America tour to assure us that we were in for an experience rather than just a concert, I knew I had made the right choice.

Childish Gambino opened his hour and a half set with two new songs, “Algorhythm” and “All Night” both of which were sent out to ticket buyers just a few days before the opening show along with a message saying that while they were unfinished demos, it was important for the audience to be familiar with them. The energy was instantaneous, as Gambino led lively call and responses and encouraged constant crowd participation, which got easier once he moved into more familiar territory, performing tracks like “Summertime Magic,” “The Worst Guys” and “Terrified.”

Donald Glover, being a rapper, singer, actor, writer, director, comedian… etc., is multi talented to say the least. Seeing him live was proof that these skills are not separate, instead they are intertwined, working together to make him such a captivating artist. As he flowed between rapping and singing, his body movement and facial expressions worked together to tell a story. While the production of the show, from the lighting to the dancers, was impressive, the real spectacle was watching Glover as a performer.

After formally ending the show with an incredible performance of “This is America”, prompting and uproarious applause and shouts for more, Gambino returned to the stage for arguably the most satisfying encore of “Sober,” “3005,” “Sweatpants,” and “Redbone.”

Still, it was bittersweet. Since Governor’s Ball in 2017, Glover has been vocal that his next album as Childish Gambino would be his last. He did not shy away from reiterating this, saying “if you are here you know you are watching the last Childish Gambino tour.” While Donald Glover retiring from music is an unfortunate one, his word choice is so specific that there is a possibility that he is teasing a moniker change. At this point in his career it would make sense for him to drop the Childish stage name for something more fitting but regardless, I feel lucky to have witnessed what could be the end of an unforgettable era of musical talent.