Boston has an amazing local music scene, we can literally catch a great show every night, whether it be at intimate local venue The Middle East, a gym-sized palace like the Royale, or a basement in Allston. So sometimes we forget about the largest venues like TD Garden that are capable of bringing in internationally-known performers and putting on a spectacle of a show. It had been a while since my last arena concert and I had forgotten what a party these shows could be – until Macklemore came to town.

Loud music began to build up, giant letters reading “M&RL” flashed on in bright colors, and finally, the black curtain that had been concealing all of what was onstage suddenly dropped. What was revealed was a pyramid of musicians standing atop leafy platforms with Ryan Lewis perched on the highest level behind a DJ table and a black and white The Heist flag. The music for 10,000 Hours is queued, Macklemore leaps on to stage with a burst of energy, and takes off a few layers of clothing to reveal his Boston pride with a bright green Celtics jersey. This theatrical opening was only a taste of the dramatic spectacle yet to come.

Every minute of the show was captivating, including the mini-speeches Macklemore would make before some songs. The rapper told the story of how he has played in Boston three times before, to crowds of 200, then 500, then 900, and now 12,000 at the Garden, with wild cheers coming from the audience. He voiced his views on equality before performing Same Love, talked about how forty members of his family were sitting in the audience supporting him that night, and congratulated Boston on the Red Sox World Series win. Occasionally from atop his pedestal, Lewis would add some drama by banging on a bass drum and cymbal during these speeches. He even went off on what was thought to be an entirely unrelated tangent with the story of arriving in Boston at 5am, going for a walk alone, jumping into the Charles river naked, having his clothes stolen, then being offered a piggy-back ride by a very old lady. Little did we know it was all part of the show because he finishes the story by saying he asked the old lady where she was taking him, in which she replied, “Why, son, you have no clothes, we’re going to the THRIFT SHOP!” What song played next is fairly self-explanatory.

But it wasn’t just Macklemore and Lewis who were responsible for the entertainment value of the show. Wanz, Mary Lambert, and Ray Dalton all performed their respective parts on the songs Thrift Shop, Same Love, and Can’t Hold Us. Another great addition were all the live instruments being played, which included electric guitar, cello, violin, and trumpet. Although typical for Macklemore shows, musicians like these are not typically found at most other hip hop shows and they provided a fun addition to the live performance.

Being in a crowd of 12,000 dancing along to this atypical style of hip hop while being sprayed with confetti and balloons was just one big party. But what stood out the most was Macklemore’s ability to perform. His heavy lyric content paired with a hyped-up audience friendly performance showed that Macklemore takes his music seriously but also knows how to have fun. He takes pride in what he does and it shows.

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