Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at Marlay Park, Dublin, 10th July 2014

What what what what is going on in Marlay Park? It’s a full 30 minutes since Macklemore and Ryan Lewis took to the stage, but it now lies deserted and silent. There’s generic hip-hop coming over the PA but nothing, besides MIA’s Paper Planes, solicits more than a shrug from the assembled 37,000.

The problem is with Ryan Lewis’s crashed MacBook – is this how the future is meant to feel? – and the first two attempts to get the show going are almost immediately cut short. There doesn’t seem to be a back-up on hand and it’s getting on for 9.45, just an hour before curfew, that the show begins in earnest. Still it’s better than having to cancel an entire world tour because of a missing USB stick.

When Macklemore and Lewis finally get going it’s with the tag poppin’, number one smash Thrift Shop and they are in their stride as though there were never any problems. It’s a crowd pleasing, big hitter of an opener that is probably needed after the technical difficulties and it lands perfectly. From the hiss of the word “Piss” to the chorus from Wanz, who makes this his one brief trip the stage, an infectious wave of enthusiasm overtakes the crowd. Macklemore’s double speed rapping that brings the song to a close is a fine technical achievement too.

He is difficult to match as an onstage cheerleader and energises the crowd with almost every single utterance. Some of the lyrics can come across as hackneyed or clichéd, but the facts are that this is his largest ever headline show, just a few short years after playing to a couple of hundred in Twisted Pepper, and he does identify with his Irish heritage.

He can put on a show too, as proved by the mass sing-along that is Same Love – a song in support of marriage equality – and the party that is Can’t Hold Us which follow Thrift Shop. The latter, in particular has become an anthem in this part of the world over the last few year, thanks in part to its presence in a Miller ad. Live, it is just as fun and the ground shakes to the rhythm of jumping feet.

Not everything works perfectly though. An a capella version of Otherside lacks what was the most interesting thing about the recorded version: the John Frusciante riff borrowed from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song of the same name. Cowboy Boots too comes and goes without really leaving much by way of impression.

The encore lifts the show back to its lofty highs with And We Danced coming across as enjoyably cheesy as Macklemore, wearing a long blonde wig and sparkly cape, intends it. Irish Celebration, while borderline patronising to most of the crowd, is another undeniably enjoyable event with green and orange lights catching the explosion of confetti from the stage. Huge waved tricolours and Macklemore’s Irish football jersey only add to the spectacle.

The closing song of the night kicks off with a familiar drum and piano hook. It’s even more familiar now because, well, we heard it less than an hour ago. A second performance of Can’t Hold Us is greeted nearly as well as the first and sparks a similar bounce-along.

The show ends here after just an hour. It’s been an enjoyable hour, but there are problems that it highlights. Surely an act should have a contingency in place for a problematic computer, especially for a show this size. The pair are short on a few hits, even for the shortened show, as evidenced by the need to repeat to repeat Can’t Hold Us.

In a few years Macklemore and Ryan Lewis may be a seminal live act; right now, they are merely good.

Macklemore Photo Gallery

Photos: Michelle Geraghty

Ellie Goulding Photo Gallery