Macklemore’s High-Energy Concert Leaves Chicago Wanting More
Photos and review by: Wendy Davis
Music brings all different types of people together, despite how easily we can become divided. This is especially true with live music – even more so with an artist who dedicates their career to uniting people through motivating, uplifting messaging, such as Macklemore. It can sometimes be easy to guess what kind of crowd a musical artist will draw based on their genre or persona. This week’s Macklemore show at Chicago’s own Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom defied any expectations by compiling every type of person imaginable into one room with fresh songs off his new record and a few timeless classics.
Macklemore returned to the Windy City on September 29th, 2023, as part of his current tour celebrating the release of his third studio album, Ben. As the crowd began to fill the Aragon’s gaping floor, the diversity in the audience only became more evident. Kids with their parents, teens, millennials, couples, and even a woman celebrating her 60th birthday were in the front row, eagerly anticipating the grand performance.
Opening the night was DJ Beeba, a long-time friend of Macklemore’s. He jazzed up the crowd with remixed singalong classics like “Mr. Brightside”, “Wannabe”, and “Dancing On My Own”. Frequently stopping the track to let the audience scream the lyrics at the top of their lungs, the night’s energy was already off with a bang.
Not long afterward, Macklemore opened with the first song on his new album, “CHANT.” With a steady piano beat, backlit in blue, he immediately had his fans in a trance. Following next was the song that started it all, “Thrift Shop”. To no surprise, the crowd never missed a beat. The rest of the setlist was a beautiful blend of fresh songs and unforgettable hits, like “Same Love” and “Downtown”.
He kept things exciting with backup dancer choreography and many outfit changes, including a dazzling blue cape, a blonde wig, and his classic yellow-tinted shades. Of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without an unforgettable encore. After leaving the stage in darkness, Macklemore returned minutes later in a fresh Chicago Bulls jersey, gracing the crowd with “Good Old Days” and “Can’t Hold Us” to finish the night off.
Of course, his impeccable, high-energy performance fueled the audience, but the love between him and his fans was arguably just as loud. From the front row of dedicated OG’s squeezed against the barricade, all the way to the VIPs in the very top booths, every single person carried their energy for the entire night. The floors seemed to never stop quaking from the constant dancing and passionate crowd roars.
Not only that but there was something about Macklemore’s presence that undeniably brought people together in the moment. Despite this being such a camera-centric, digital age for concerts, this audience seemed to have minimal phones in the air. People were swaying to the ballads with their arms around each other. If he said clap, they clapped.
If he said scream, boy did they scream. With this passion-fueled power, Macklemore had over his audience, it was almost like being teleported back in time where everyone just soaked in the show with their neighbors, not caring about a single opinion in the world. This kind of genuine connection grows harder to find and even more special as time goes on.
This touching, organic energy is certainly a product of Macklemore’s message of spreading love and always living your truth. His dedication to his craft and inattentiveness to others’ negative opinions have clearly gone a long way after feeling the love from this Chicago audience (which he repeatedly complimented for being the best of the whole tour during this show). After engulfing himself in screaming fans at the barricade and many thank you’s, Macklemore made his exit for the night, leaving nothing but confetti and 5,000 hearts full of love.
Read more reviews here!
Photos © 2023 by: Wendy Davis
Photos © 2023 by: Wendy Davis
Tue, OCT 3 Mission Ballroom Denver, CO
Thu, OCT 5 The Complex Salt Lake City, UT
Sat, OCT 7 Roseland Theater Portland, OR
Sun, OCT 8 Roseland Theater Portland, OR
Tue, OCT 10 Spokane Arena Spokane, WA
Wed, OCT 11 Adams Center Missoula, MT
Thu, OCT 12 CenturyLink Arena Boise Boise, ID
Sat, OCT 14 The Masonic San Francisco, CA
Tue, OCT 17 Arizona Financial Theatre Phoenix, AZ
Wed, OCT 18 Hollywood Palladium Los Angeles, CA
Thu, DEC 21 Climate Pledge Arena Seattle, WA
Fri, DEC 22 Climate Pledge Arena Seattle, WA