Macklemore delivered a marathon, two-hour show at Bumbershoot Saturday that will likely go down in Seattle's collective memory as one of the festival's best. Even Russell Wilson dropped by.
Looking fit and healthy with a trim haircut and sounding extremely happy, Seattle rap star Macklemore delivered a marathon two-hour show at Memorial Stadium with producer Ryan Lewis that will no doubt register in Seattle’s collective memory as one of the “best ever” at Bumbershoot.
The 33-year-old four-time Grammy winner pulled out all the stops, with huge production numbers, several guest artists and a deep inventory of his repertoire that celebrated himself, his city and Bumbershoot.
The show boldfaced Macklemore’s best and worst qualities, which are sometimes so entwined it’s difficult to tease them out. His notorious earnestness, for example, was disarming on songs like “Wings,” about his own dreams as a child, or “Growing Up,” his paean to fatherhood and his young daughter, Sloane. He has a direct line to wonder and innocence, which is charming. And yet that same heart, worn on his sleeve, felt like it was bleeding all over your face on the self-pitying “St. Ides” or the navel-gazing (and unintentionally ironic) “White Privilege II.”
Likewise, his tribute to the late Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus, “My Oh My,” still felt like a real keeper, a song that will be played in this town for decades. It was good to hear “Same Love” again, too (though not the preachy sermon that preceded it). Yet Macklemore’s endless pledges of allegiance to Seattle iconography — Dick’s cheeseburgers (some of which he tossed out to the crowd), the Seahawks (Russell Wilson made a cameo, for a rousing “Can’t Hold Us”), Seattle Center (“I love the fountain! I love the whales!”) and Bumbershoot itself, which he called “the greatest festival in the world,” at a certain point start sounding like cheesy opportunism, as if he were appointing himself as one of those very icons he worships.
It’s tough at times to know whether to laugh or cry. But certain themes came through Saturday that were indeed very Seattle. One was that curious local mix of celebrating life — “Ten Thousand Hours,” “And We Danced” — and serial confessions of Puritan guilt — “Fences” (and don’t forget his apology to Kendrick Lamar for “stealing” a Grammy).
Somehow, humor often saved him, as on the wonderfully goofy “Thrift Shop,” or even “Let’s Eat,” which he also performed, confessing that his real favorite part of Bumbershoot was the strawberry shortcake.
The crowd — not the biggest at the stadium this weekend (about 65 percent full on the floor) but certainly among the most enthusiastic — appeared to love it all, packed in tight toward the stage, pumping fists and cheering loudly, especially for an anti-Trump rap with an unprintable name. The rapper’s machine-gun delivery of “Brad Pitt” and his unabashedly materialistic ode to Cadillacs, “White Walls,” were also highlights.
Macklemore closed with “Downtown,” donning a final costume of green fringe — earlier, he wore a silk touring jacket, an undershirt, a flannel shirt and a blond wig — and danced with a well-choreographed troupe at his side. The featured singer on the track, Eric Nally, also made an appearance, bringing the crowd to a roar.
Fireworks exploded as the crowd dispersed to KeyArena for the evening’s closer, Pretty Lights, or packed it in after a long day of Bumbershooting.
Note: Alexa Peters contributed to this report.