Macklemore at The Fillmore in Detroit, MI

Macklemore showed up in Detroit ready to show the city, the fans, the Detroit Lions, and the University of Michigan basketball the love they deserved.

Every major city has one venue that is the most beautiful and ornate. That venue is usually old, beautiful, and full of history. In Detroit, that venue is The Fillmore Theatre, formally known as the State Theatre. The six-story theatre is inside a 12-story building that was opened in 1925. It was last renovated in 2018, recreating the former luster of the Renaissance Revival styling. While there are many old and gorgeous buildings in downtown Detroit, The Fillmore Theatre has a special place in the hearts of many Detroiters.

On a rainy night, nearly 3,000 people packed into The Fillmore. The party started that evening with a DJ set of popular songs mixed by Nick Beeba. He came out strong and got the crowd hyped up for the night. As he mixed songs, he was energetic and charismatic. He mixed a wide variety of songs from artists such as Outcast and Spice Girls just to name a couple. He took moments during his time to engage with the audience. He told the audience that if they took anything away from the night to “Love yourself, know your worth.” At one point, he had the crowd follow along with chanting with him “Love yourself” followed by “Know your worth.” It was a very good mood and energy lifter to get the crowd ready.

After the DJ set, the crowd was amped up and ready for Macklemore. He came out, bouncing across the stage in a Detroit Lions jersey. He started with “Chant” from his newest 2023 album, Ben. He was also joined on stage by his band, including Beeba as the DJ, Xperience (XP) on backup vocals, Darius on trombone, Cinque on drums, Kayla on trumpet, Camara on backup vocals, and Anna and Meka as the dancers.

He took a small break after the first song to greet the audience. He spoke about how much he loves the city, Michigan as a whole, and especially his favorite beverage, which hails from Detroit, Vernor’s. For the first wardrobe change of the evening, he put on a black bathrobe with the word Detroit embroidered along the back for the hit song “Thrift Shop” from his 2012 album The Heist. This song included a fun and upbeat performance with a lot of beautifully choreographed dancing.

For the third song, he performed “No Bad Days,” also from the album Ben. For this song, he included a bit more of the band with group dancing, and he brought out water cannons to spray into the crowd. It was truly an amazing night to be anywhere in the building. The fun and charisma were off the charts for this show. Up next was another song from The Heist, “White Walls.” He made sure to thank Detroit for his Cadillac, which inspired the song.

Just when the audience thought the energy was all the way up, he spoke about how there is no video or live stream that will ever compare to the energy of live music, followed by how love is love as he introduced his next song, “Same Love.” Then they performed the brass instrument-heavy song “Downtown” from the 2016 collaboration album This Unruly Mess I’ve Made. Up next was a mix of half of “Heroes” and “Grime,” both from Ben.

Next, he addressed consumerism through his song “Wing$” from The Heist. Then he performed “I Need.” It is well known that he, like many others, has struggled with addiction. His next song, “Otherside,” was about his journey of looking for an escape to sobriety. This theme carried over to his next song, a song about relapse and “Starting Over.”

He quickly lifted the energy back up from the previous songs with deep meanings. When he started “1984,” he came out in a bedazzled vest and got the audience amped up again right away. This song had a very easy-to-follow flow and oozed 1980s sounds. It was a nice bridge to the next song, “And We Danced,” where he came out in a sparkled cape and a long blonde wig with a sweatband. The next wardrobe change was to a cut-off dress shift for the song “Dance Off.”

After “Dance Off,” he selected two audience members on stage to perform a dance-off in front of everyone. Macklemore described the first person, a lady from Michigan, as having a free spirit and being very comfortable with herself. The second person was a young guy who got up and danced his heart out before his crocs fell off. He then ended up in a full-spread split. Macklemore addressed it as “we all have that moment in life metaphorically where our crocs fall off and it is up to us to get back up on our feet and show the rest of the world that we know how to do the f**king splits.” He continued by addressing the young guy, telling him that “nobody in here was anticipating you were going to end full spread-eagle on the ground” and having everyone make noise for him.

As the core of the set was coming to a close, he ended with “Glorious” from the 2017 album Gemini. For the encore, he came back out in a University of Michigan #4 Webber jersey. He started it with “Tail Lights,” a slower song about finding a way through life that makes you happy and not worrying about what others may think. While it was a slower song, the lyrics were very uplifting. The uplifting song theme continued with “Good Old Days,” where the lyrics mention he wishes he had known he was in the good old days when they were happening.

To close out the night, he ended with the immensely feel-good song “Can’t Hold Us,” where he got into the audience and had them hold him up as confetti came streaming out. Overall, Macklemore was a very charismatic artist who exuded joy and positivity in a well-choreographed package and stage presence that would be hard to match, which left everyone excited for the next time he comes to the city!

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About Jessica Trail 27 Articles
Jessica is based in Hamtramck, MI. She is an engineer who is also passionate about photography and live music. When she is not researching new shows and festivals to attend she enjoys playing with her dog and rooting for her favorite sports teams.