By Neil Kavanaugh
The stage was set. The crowd was sold out. 20,356 fans waited with baited breath. Suddenly, a single beam of light shot down from the rafters. There he was, shirtless and ready for the two hour performance that he was about to bestow. He was carrying a single note and the higher he made it go, the more the ray of light began to pulsate, until it finally exploded, and the first of many light shows began with unique fanfare. This is not abnormal for Donald Glover, also known by his stage name Childish Gambino, who has been known to go the extra mile for his music tours. After his opening song, Gambino had some words for his fans in the District.
“Before we start the show, I want to ask you all to put away your cell phones. This isn’t he for anyone out there. You all bought your tickets, they didn’t,” he said. “I don’t want to give you guys just a show, I want to give you an experience. As you may have heard, this is my last tour as Childish Gambino, and I want to make it special for you. This is church.”
Childish Gambino went on to sing his more popular songs such as “The Worst Guys,” “Boogie Man,” and “Feels Like Summer,” just to name a few. Every one of his songs had a different light show variation, which gave the show a very unique feel. Abruptly, the stage went dark for the second time that night. On the jumbotrons behind the stage, Gambino appeared walking somewhere backstage. The camera started getting fuzzy, and then the signal was lost. A few seconds later, the entire left side of the arena erupted in screams and cheers. Gambino had gone through one of the visitor’s entrances and was walking down, high-fiving the crowd while singing “Stand Tall,” but he stopped abruptly. One fan had shouted that today was her birthday, and he walked over to her and wished her a happy birthday, but could barely be heard over the girl, who was screamed at the top of her lungs out of excitement. Gambino made his way back onstage, performing “Feels Like Summer” and some songs yet to be released to the public. Before one of his songs, Gambino had this to say:
“I always like coming to D.C. You all get me so hyped, I love you. When the Baltimore riots happened, I wrote two songs. One of them was ‘This is America,’ and the other one is called ‘Riot.’ I’m still working on it, let me know what you think.”
It may have been a rhetorical question, but the answer was resoundingly strong approval. The common theme throughout the concert was excitement and supportive cheering, which proves why exactly Childish Gambino holds this city and its people so close to his heart. Childish Gambino finished his performance with a grandiose version of “This is America,” which was an additional five minutes longer, and interactive for the crowd. When he was finished, the stage once again went dark. Shouts of “Bino! Bino! Bino!” filled the stadium, and after a couple seconds of the only noise in the building being Gambino’s name, Childish appeared again on the jumbotron, this time raising his hand to his ear, taunting the crowd to get louder. The crowd responded instantly, and when Gambino did it again, the crowd reached an all time high for the night. Gambino re-emerged on stage to blinding yellow lights and began singing “Sweatpants,” but was drowned out by all 20,356 fans singing along at the top of their lungs. Gambino went on to play “Sober,” “3005,” “Worldstar,” and “Redbone.” When Gambino’s half-hour encore was finished, he walked to the front of the stage and said:
“Thank you D.C., I love you. Goodnight.”
Gambino set down the microphone, and as he walked back offstage for the final time, the video on the jumbotron behind him zoomed in on the microphone placed in the front of the stage, symbolic of his farewell tour. Childish Gambino left Washington D.C. in a state of euphoria.
Catholic University students were no exception.
“What I really enjoyed was that Gambino encouraged the audience to be in the moment throughout the entire concert, and that it seemed to engage everyone in a way I have never seen before,” said Junior politics major Isa Martinez.
Freshman Politics major Jack Rowing called Gambino, “a true master of all traits.”
“It’s the first concert I went to and I don’t think I’ll ever top it,” Rowing said.