Show Review: IAMDONALD tour with Donald Glover/Childish Gambino at The Fillmore, 4/28/11

by Marie Carney on April 30, 2011

If you read Spinning Platters with any regularity, you know I love Donald Glover, so let’s just get the personal stuff out of the way now.  I spent all day with an increasing sense of agitation waiting to see if I was going to get a pass for the IAMDONALD show at the Fillmore tonight.  I got stuck in some angry self-righteous critic reel where I actually thought I deserved a ticket.  Well, I did write this review of the preview show.  Then I campaigned hard for Donald Glover/Childish Gambino’s album Culdesac to win album of the year in 2010.  Then I gave his fans a SXSW award (and missed The Dead Milkmen to see him!).  Is it possible this makes me his biggest fan?  And is it possible for a show to live up to expectations after all that?

I arrived at The Fillmore at 8:45.  Fifteen minutes to spare.  But I think the audience didn’t get the memo that Childish Gambino opens for himself and that the show time of 9 means Mr Glover will be on stage at 9 (well, 9:05, but who’s counting) since the venue was about half full.  He opened the show with about 20 minutes of stand-up.  It was very funny, if less polished than the last time I saw him.  Of course, the audience’s excitement turned out to be distracting when, in the middle of a story about an encounter with Reggie Bush, he became distracted by a piece of paper slipped on stage.  It was a drawing of an earlier joke (Kanye West playing piano on a bear), which then prompted two more papers to go on stage (one a phone number, the second another drawing).  Donald Glover got back into his act fairly quickly, with minimal help from the audience to continue the laughs. 

For those wondering, the picture says "I want to EAT YOU, but you wrote Graduation"

Much earlier than expected, a facetime call came in on his phone from the guy (James Murphy) in LCD Soundsystem  which turned into a fight because Donald Glover was supposed to come over and watch “Louie.”  After that another call came in from “Future Donald” which turns into a hilarious romp that leads in to the start of the musical portion of the show.

Some Facetime with LCD Soundsystem

As Childish Gambino Donald Glover is hard on stage.  He’s expressive with fierce faces and quick words.  He runs around the stage and makes eye contact with the audience.  He makes the switch so easily from Comedian Extraordinaire to Consummate Musician.  There’s never a moment where you don’t believe it, maybe because of the obvious level of commitment and passion for his music.  That passion just seems to pour out of his pores and his mouth.

He played a good mix of material.  A new song, one off an old mixtape and a few the album Culdesac as well as playing his new EP in its entirety (which I was very happy about.  So good).  Again, I was struck by the power and interest in the live arrangements.  He is still touring with four musicians: drums, bass, keyboards/guitar and violin.  The singing to the quiet violin line in “Be Alone” was especially nice (even if it is the same as the EP).  “Put it in My Video” began with a Reggie Watts video version of the song, then slipped into the harder live version of the song.

Now, I know that the show was sold out, and all his songs are online for free, but I was still amazed by the level of the audience’s reaction, and the fact that most of them knew every word.  “Freaks and Geeks” made the crowd go insane, but not as insane as “Lights Turned On” where the crowd was jumping so hard I had to jump by default because the floor was pushing me into the air.  It was super fun to be around so many excited people.  Especially since they were excited in a friendly way.  No pushing or shoving, just smiling and bouncing.

When Donald Glover left the stage the crowd screamed for him to come back and we were treated to two more songs.  Like the last time I saw him, without and opener and set change, the show ended super early, walking out the door at 10:30.  This time, I felt happy and complete at the end of the show.  Three times in five months.  That’s probably exactly the right amount of Donald Glover.  Hopefully you will have the chance to do so too.

Setlist:

Let Me Dope You
Freaks and Geeks
Do Ya Like
So Fly
The Real
I Got This Money
I Be On That
(John Legend clap along)
Rolling in The Deep – (Jamie xx Remix of Adele)
My Shine
Be Alone
Put It In My Video (Reggie Watts and regular)
Lights Turned On

Encore

The Longest Text Message
Not Going Back

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