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Macklemore Concert Review Manchester Apollo


Macklemore returned to the same venue he’d appeared at 18 months before however this time the O2 Apollo in Manchester cut a very different scene. Back then just 200 fans turned up but now the place was to be packed out with 3,500 fans turning up not just for a concert but an all out party. Ever since Thrift Shop the meteoric rise of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis has been non-stop across the UK.

Whilst Macklemore gets the headlines for his rap skills and wonderfully thought provoking lyrics Ryan Lewis very much is happy to keep a lower profile in the background but they make a brilliant team, almost like a Hip Hop Batman and Robin. It’s nice to see a modern hip hop artist with such humour and honesty in his lyrics and in an industry too close to homophobic lyrics and hate even before this concert started you could feel a real sense of togetherness and love around the venue and a lot of support for his same sex equal rights message.

The Apollo Has Changed and Was the Perfect Setting for Macklemore’s Return

The Manchester Apollo used to look a little dated and now whilst still a far cry from the most impressive venues it is much improved since the last time I had visited. Parking is ample and there are no queues to get in like some of the bigger venues. It holds 3,500 people and that’s enough to generate a great atmosphere inside when things start getting hot but small enough to still enjoy the intimacy with the artist on stage.

This was absolutely perfect for Macklemore. It’s the first time I’ve seen him live but he really likes to build rapport and communication with his fans. He’d often take a break between songs and really connect with fans in a humorous and sometimes serious way. It was the ability to speak to the fans individually that made this feel more like a party than a concert and was able to bring some issues important to the rapper to light.

Chance the Rapper Opening

I have to say I’d never heard of Chance the Rapper but I’ve a feeling I will hear a lot more soon. You can see why Macklemore chose him and his Acid Rap for the opening act. He too was a lively character, a performer, comedian he’d switch between real slow soulful rap to crazy bouncing antics and dancing and he himself would talk a little about his life and Chicago and try and entertain the crowd with more than just the music but he certainly got the crowd well pumped before the big act.

His biggest cheer inevitably though was when he asked the crowd were they ready for Macklemore? The place erupted but to most people’s surprise (it shouldn’t have been) Macklemore didn’t appear. It was 30 minutes later when the show started and bang on time but fans had really worked themselves up into a frenzy before he arrived on stage. It was a strange mix of middle aged couples and teens all over the crowd and you couldn’t help but wonder if a few were simply there as guards for their little ones but those thoughts were dispelled the minute he came out on stage.


Macklemore Explodes Onto The Stage and Manchester Goes Wild

A brilliant rendition of The Heist opened and the place didn’t need much of an excuse to get behind the man they’d come to see. It’s a terrific track and it was an equally good performance as he played all the songs you’d expect. He was fully aware that a lot of fans here had only known about the music after Thrift Shop and his set consisted mainly of the biggest songs he has so the audience could fully get involved.

In fact he insisted he did by stopping to demand everybody even those in the ‘comfy’ seats stand up and get involved by dancing and shouting and they duly obliged and it made for a terrific spectacle. He talked between songs about the things he’d changed in his life. How he used to smoke all day, play Xbox (Grand Theft Auto) and does nothing all day then wonder why he hasn’t achieved anything. It was a celebration of how rehab and sobriety have gone hand in hand with his success and how he wrote Starting Over after this experience.

He certainly didn’t condemn drug use just an explanation that some people can function normally when they smoke but he wasn’t one of them and he had to change to become who he wanted to be. There were similar touching moments when before his performance of his song Same Love he talked about rights for same sex lovers and how this was one of the biggest human rights fights we have left to see through.

It was that mix of honesty, intensity and humour that had the crowd eating out of his palm. If the guy in the audience was staged it was a brilliant move as<