An energetic, polished and a memorable performance is what Macklemore brought to Birmingham’s O2 Academy. With the release of his third studio album, Ben, in full swing, the setlist for the night was filled with a mixture of songs that showed off Macklemore’s extensive discography.
With it being a sold out show, the room was filled with some of his dedicated fans, there to witness what he had in store. The support for this tour was CharlieOnAFriday and Tones And I, who, just like Macklemore knew how to get the crowd going from the very second they stepped foot on stage and demanded their attention from the very start.
Up first was rapper CharlieOnAFriday, who was greeted with a loud round of applause as he greeted the people of Birmingham. He entered the stage with energy that filled the room. It didn’t take long before he got into performing tracks including “Enough”, “Same Friends” featuring Lil Tjay, and “After Hours”.
It was evident Charlie enjoyed being up on stage, as he looked out towards the sea of people in the room staring back at him with smiles on their faces. Making the most of the stage, he interacted with the audience in between songs. He brought positive vibes through his music and his presence which was reassuring and a good way to kick the night off.
Following CharlieOnAFriday was Tones And I. Understandably, as she made her way to the front of the stage, she was greeted by a loud and exciting round of applause. Cheers could be heard throughout the whole room, as everyone was ready to hear and witness the talent that Tones And I had to bring to the night.
Accompanied by a group of singers, who also put on a performance like it was their own show, everything tied in perfectly. Every single person up on that stage was giving it their all and that didn’t go unnoticed by the audience.
From songs including “Bad Child”, “I Am Free” and “Cloudy Day”, the singers Tones and I had on stage with her matched her energy every single time. The interaction they had amongst each other, and as well as the audience made the set exciting and kept them wanting more.
A cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” got the whole room singing along, and that just brought everyone together even more than before. Showing off her versatility as an artist, while also being able to hold the aueicnes’ attention from the first moment she walked on stage, it won’t be long until Tones And I is back in the UK on her very own headline tour.
Also throwing in a cover of “Diamond” by Rihanna was another memorable moment in the set. Bringing everything to a close with “ Fly Away” and the very recognisable track “Dance Monkey”, with everyone singing back the chorus without any command, the energy in the room became electric and contagious.
No one in the room was standing still or wasn’t singing along. Tones And I brought something special to the night, a sense of confidence, a strong character and proves that she has a lot more to offer throughout her career.
While everyone waited for Macklemore to take the stage, a slideshow in the form of a collage played to the fans, reminiscing of memories throughout his life. As soon as the lights went down, the anticipation was slowly coming to an end, as Macklemore was about to make this a night to remember.
Even before the crowd saw him, the whole room filled with loud applause and claps, which was a great welcome for Macklemore. He knew what the crowd wanted, and he delivered.
From an inclusive setlist filled with favorites including “Thrift Shop”, “Same Love”, “Downtown” where Eric Nally came out to perform and “Wings”, some newer tracks from his latest album Ben, a standout performance from himself and his dancers – filled with so much energy and passion, there was nothing that didn’t translate well on stage that didn’t feel the same for the fans.
During the set, Macklemore looked out towards every single person who took their time to see him and thanked them all, reminiscing over the last time he played in Birmingham and made a promise that he’ll be back soon.
Selling out the O2 Academy, the main room, is an achievement in itself. But it won’t be long until Macklemore is back selling out arenas once again, especially knowing the reception the latest album had gained and the knowledge of knowing he was truly missed by the people who meant the most to him.
His fans. Speaking of his fans, incorporating his love for golf into the set, Macklemore announced that he would be giving away some free merch. In true Macklemore fashion, what better way than to deliver this to whoever was lucky enough to get their hands on it was to hit it from the stage using a golf club.
Fan interaction is a large part of the set. The talented dancers that were on stage too also played a large part in the fun factor of the night. They were encouraging people to sing and dance along, as well as hyping up the audience and each other on stage.
Everything was thought out perfectly. From the stage production, visuals on the screens, outfits and the lighting setup, it all worked and brought everything together. Throughout the evening, the energy in the room was electrifying. It didn’t slow down one bit and that goes to show the level of talent that Macklemore processes.
As it all began to come to a close, the fans scream for more, and that’s what they got, an encore of three songs – “TAIL LIGHTS”, “Good Old Days” with Tones and I, and the best way to close the set was with “Can’t Hold Us”.
Macklemore made his way into the middle of the crowd for the ending part of this song, where he was able to interact with the people of Birmingham for the last time. As he was in the crowd, an explosion of confetti went off and filled the room. It felt like a celebration, one that Macklemore won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Words + photography by Sarah Akomanyi