Macklemore at The O2, Dublin | Review
Many Americans claim to be part Irish, have Irish heritage or roots. Many come to these shores exclaiming from the stage that Ireland is their favourite stop on tour and that Irish crowds are the best. For the most part this is straight from the live show bag of tricks, but when Macklemore says it, it feels genuine.
Two years ago Macklemore was playing to 200 people in Twisted Pepper and in an incredible 24 months has returned to play The Academy and now The O2, Dublin for two nights. A drum and bass intro leads into 10,000 Hours to kick off the show, and the crowd is lit up by phones as they scramble to get a picture of their hero. Adorning an Irish rugby jersey and grinning ear to ear “Finally we made it back home!”. The party kicks into gear as the show bounces through Crew Cuts and Life Is Cinema as the crowd come to life bouncing and singing with a life affirming energy that is permeating every inch of the venue. Macklemore drops down to the barrier to greet the fans as he leads them in a chorus of “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier”, Ryan Lewis the engine room up top.
Mack compliments the Irish on their style, picking out a gentleman in a fur coat for particular praise, borrowing the jacket for Thrift Shop as the crowd go nuts. Sang word for word with confetti raining down halfway through the song, the roof came off The O2 for the first of many times tonight. It is amazing how Macklemore has grown in stature and confidence in the last two years and the show is complemented by a massive production. This is David becoming Goliath as the unlikely star beats addiction to make his love a career, and look at how much success he has had since going sober in 2008. He is truly living his dream.
Starting Over scripts his falls from the wagon and how he beat it, before telling the Dublin crowd that “no-one, no law, no government can tell you who you love in your heart”, leading into Same Love sang with a passion and fervour by both Mack and the crowd. A 14,000 strong vocal petition for gay rights, the intensity and passion of the track send shivers and leads directly into the euphoric highlight of the night as Can’t Hold Us blares and the party hits top gear. The balcony of The O2 heaves and rattles under the intense bouncing of the upstairs crowd. The crowd so intensely embracing the atmosphere, lifting this song to new dimensions live as it gets the full on production treatment and Macklemore heads into the crowd, stepping on a sea of hands like their lord walking on human water. This feat didn’t last long as the crowd eventually succumbed to the desire to mob the superstar. Macklemore eventually gets back to the stage after much help from security, looking rather dishevelled from the experience.
White Walls and Wing$ finish up the main set in style, the crowd in fine voice as they have been throughout the night. Returning to the stage to play And We Danced where Mack and Ryan play parody characters in wigs and capes and lead the crowd in chants of “Dance Dance Dance”, this party is far from over. Irish Celebration is a patriots dream as the confetti cannons rain green white and orange, creating a blanket flag in the air as visual candy, whilst Macklemore returns to the stage hoisting a giant Irish flag. It’s an over the top celebration of not just his Irish heritage, but of Ireland in general and a clear love and affection he has for this country.
Not content to leave it at that, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis introduce us to the entire band before launching into Can’t Hold Us for a second time. A perfect high to finish a gig filled with elation and emotion, choreographed by a master frontman executing a flawless gig. We’ve been treated tonight to what is probably the gig of the year, at least for this writer. The combination of the crowd’s exuberant dancing and singing, mixed with dance party weaved by Ryan Lewis combined to create a stunning spectacle backed by a big budget production jammed with streamers, confetti, fire, flags, dancers and massive balloons all making up impressive elements.
14,000 smiling fans left The O2 tonight. Another 14,000 will be treated to a wonderful show Sunday night and we have no doubt of that. The only thing we’re more sure of than that, is that Macklemore will try to outdo tonight’s performance. That’s just the kind of showman he is. The man is an inspiration.
Life Is Cinema
Can’t Hold Us
And We Danced
Can’t Hold Us
Macklemore Photo Gallery
Photos: Owen Humphreys