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Concert Review: Macklemore’s Gemini Tour

Photo of Macklemore courtesy of Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

Photo of Macklemore courtesy of Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

Rachael McKriger, Editor In Chief

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Macklemore is known for his work in activism and for having a good time.

The rapper proved both of those things during his Pittsburgh stop of the Gemini Tour, in which he was accompanied by Xperience and Travis Thompson.

Macklemore set up shop at Stage AE, the same venue where he sold out in June 2016 while promoting his album This Unruly Mess I’ve Made with Ryan Lewis.

This time, without Lewis, Macklemore still sold out, showcasing songs from his new album, “Gemini,” as well as others from The Heist and This Unruly Mess I’ve Made.

Xperience, a longtime friend of Macklemore’s opened up the show. Xperience, another Seattle, Wash., based rapper, opened up Macklemore’s 2016 show, and delivered an even better performance this time.

Xperience started singing lines from songs he did with Macklemore, including “Church” from Gemini. Xperience closed out his set with a song he wrote after his mother passed away from breast cancer. He thanked the crowd, and promised them that he would be back out with Macklemore.

The more intriguing part of the opening acts was Travis Thompson’s set. Last year, Macklemore’s second guest was the band The Flavr Blue, whose leading singer is Hollis. Hollis’ name might sound familiar, as she sings the chorus on Macklemore’s song “White Walls.”

Last year, The Flavr Blue was lackluster, and had a boring set. This year, Travis Thompson rocked it.

Thompson came out with high energy, with upbeat songs. It also helped that most of his music had a nice beat drop that the crowd got down with. Thompson was a much better opening act than The Flavr Blue.

Then came time for the man of the hour. Macklemore surprised fans with an appearance by Eric Nally. The first song of the set was “I Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight,” in which Nally features on the chorus. Macklemore came out on stage with a Roberto Clemente jersey.

Last year, to commemorate the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup championship, he wore a Penguins jersey.

Macklemore’s next two songs – equally as upbeat and exciting as the first – came off Gemini. He continued the trend by singing “Firebreather” and “Marmalade.” Before “Marmalade” was performed, Macklemore told the story of how the song is his daughter Salone’s favorite song on the album.

Macklemore returned to his first album for “White Walls” and then serenaded the audience with a passionate performance of “Same Love.”

Before he sang “Same Love,” Macklemore commented on the political nature of the United States and preached a message of love and acceptance.

“No matter what your skin color is, your sexual orientation is, who you love or whatever else, you’re welcomed here,” Macklemore said. “This is a place of love, where we share music and love with each other.”

Notably, Macklemore performed a stripped down version of the song “Otherside,” which is about his past struggles with drug addiction. Before the song played, a recording of the Serenity Prayer was played, stating “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, and the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Finishing off the first part of the show, Macklemore told the audience to turn off their phones and sing “Can’t Hold Us” with him. He jumped into the crowd and he held them up while rapping.

Afterwards, he bid the crowd goodnight, but then returned minutes later to finish the show with “Good Ol Days,” “Downtown” and “Glorious.”

Seeing Macklemore in concert for the second time was certainly a treat – and something I didn’t expect in back-to-back years. The concert was certainly better than the first, especially since I enjoy the Gemini album.

If the opportunity ever arises again, I would highly recommend seeing Macklemore live.

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About the Writer
Rachael McKriger, Editor In Chief

In her senior year of college, Rachael McKriger is serving her second consecutive term as Editor-In-Chief of the California Times in the 2017-18 school year. In addition to being Editor-In-Chief, McKriger also serves as a writer (mainly in sports) and photographer.

McKriger also writes outside of the Cal Times, as she’s a sports journalist for four websites. She covers the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Pittsburgh Steelers for Pittsburgh Sports Castle, and just the Riverhounds for The Mon Goals of the Beautiful Game Network. She covers the Seattle Sounders FC — her favorite MLS club — and the National Women’s Soccer League for Last Word on Soccer. McKriger also has a freelance photography venture called McKriger Photography, which she started in March 2016.

Furthermore, outside of college, McKriger is a stringer (journalist) for the sports section of the Mon Valley Independent in nearby Monessen. She has held the job since July 20, 2017. Formerly, she was a copy editor at the Herald-Standard newspaper in Uniontown for nine months.

In addition, McKriger is on the W2M Network podcast called Soccer 2 The Max,” alongside Erik Watkins and Sean Garmer. The three talk about anything pertaining to soccer- domestically in the United States and even abroad.

At Cal U, McKriger is studying English with a concentration in Journalism. She is also studying for a minor in Sociology. She is also part of CUTV and the Society of Professional Journalists.

With the Cal Times, McKriger started out as a writer her first semester (fall 2015) and then became the Sports Editor in her second semester (spring 2016).

After her undergraduate career ends, McKriger plans on attending Point Park University to pursue a Master’s degree in Media Communications: Journalism.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Concert Review: Macklemore’s Gemini Tour”

  1. Matt on November 13th, 2017 6:25 pm

    Curious when doors opened, how long the opening acts were, and when Macklemore went on stage. Great review!

  2. Ciarán Gartlan on April 5th, 2018 4:50 am

    I was in Ireland last night. Doors opened at 6 30 and we were waiting 1 hour 30 mins before anyone even cane out :L when it started though it was great

  3. Cara on June 4th, 2018 1:30 pm

    How was the profanity? 10 year old son is a huge fan but only allowed to listen to the edited versions. ….

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Concert Review: Macklemore’s Gemini Tour