A Performer for the Ages (Live Review)
Despite a cold, windy and wet Wednesday night (17th July 2019), a warm buzz of people swarmed in and around Rod
Laver Arena anxiously lining up an hour before the show’s scheduled start as general admission filling
considerably. Excitement levels amongst the diverse crowd of all ages and races came to a peak with
screams whenever the lights dimmed and a sense of the emergence of multi-Grammy award winning
artist Childish Gambino’s final Melbourne show.
The show was opened by Channel Tres, a Compton producer, songwriter and rapper who got the crowd
loose and moving with his funky hits “Sexy Black Timberlake” & “Controller”. Although the opener was
only on his second Australian tour, he impressed widely and is definitely one to watch as 2019 rides out.
This cool and vibrant energy quickly turned back into a heavy anxiousness once he left the stage. The
people were ready for their hero. And with a single spotlight. There he was. Backed by an amazing full
band, choir and backup dancers, Donald had not just planned a show, but a whole experience that he
was adamant to keep us all apart of. He outlined 2 rules for the night; the first was to reciprocate the love
he had for us for being present at his last show, and that we put away our phones, as this was an
experience exclusive to the audience in the building at Rod Laver.
He pulling out all the classics in a night of admiration. The entire crowd sang every lyric and ad-lib to
smash-hits ‘The Worst Guys’, ‘Sober’, ‘Bonfire’ while a special moment was saved for universal anthem
‘3005’ … all before a run of flawless falsetto renditions of ‘Feels Like Summer’, ‘Me and Your Mama’ and
‘Redbone.’ There’s no other way to say it for those who haven’t seen the wonder of Childish Gambino
live; he’s a once in a generation performer.
‘Bino was in his BAG Wednesday night. It was truly a night for the ages, but that was not all he had in
store. Halfway through his performance (right after WORLDSTAR) he seemed to leave the stage and
walk all the way to the entrance of the arena. The arena collectively held their breath in confusion and
anticipation at Donald’s next move. While being followed by a camera crew broadcasting his every motion
live, he waved to guards and entered the Rod Laver up through the stands; instantly swarmed by
hundreds of fans. A true man of the people. He sung acapella and preceded to having an impromptu jam
session with his band; all within arms reach of the audience. Like there was a mere handful rather than a
tennis stadium packed.
For some time now for Australian fans, Childish Gambino has been sort of an enigma; a foot injury
delayed this show, which was originally slated for 2018. Since his bold announcement of plans to retire
the artist known as Childish Gambino, Donald Glover has stayed away from the limelight musically;
preferring to focus his attention on Hollywood – a standout performance in the new The Lion King live
remake, sure to bring him to the attention of a whole new audience. If Donald is Simba. Rod Laver was
the pridelands. And everything the light touched this night was his Kingdom.
Written by Emmanuel Yoa
Edited by Matthew Craig
Images by Travis Hatyo, supplied by Live Nation