• James Hewlett


What a crazy busy day, and so much fun.

I was on the road by nine thirty this morning as I told Ed I’d meet him in Leicester Square at about eleven thirty.

The company he works for did stuff for the new Disney ‘live action’ Dumbo film by Tim Burton and he was one of the main guys from his team to do stuff for it. He had invited me along to the cast & crew screening/party during the day before the gig later on.

This new Dumbo is a film I had zero interest in seeing, in fact, I have no interest in any Tim Burton movie from the last twenty five years, but I accepted without hesitation as it’s a pretty cool and, for me at least, unique experience. Plus I get to support my friend, and that’s awesome!

All the fancy pants recognisable people introduced the screening and thanked everyone for all their hard work then had to bounce to get to Paris for the next premiere event so unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to meet Danny DeVito, but we did see the movie in the full size imax screen.

Eh, it was fine. Obviously not for me though. The kids in the audience who’s parents had worked on it seemed to really enjoy it and it’s targeted to them so I guess it did it’s job. It was rad seeing Ed’s name in the credits of a major Disney movie though.

From there we met up with the rest of the people he works with and went with them for their own lunch/after party. Most of them were hanging from the night before as it had doubled as someone’s leaving do, but they were all good people. Lunch was good too, especially the fact that it was paid for by the studio.

We had a couple of hours to kill before the gig and some of the group new a few cool places on the way so instead of joining the masses in crowded tubes we walked to Waterloo and hit up an awesome rooftop bar. Aesthetically it reminded me so much of Spiderhouse in Austin and that’s a big win for me!

After a couple drinks there we headed round to The 02, as we were walking in I was reminded of the really fun times I’d had at RTX the past two years in the same area. Good memories don’t go away even when bad things happen after.

We left the others as they had stranded tickets and Ed and I got to our seats just after the support act had finished.

I’d done ver well and we had just about the best view you could have from the seated section!

Childish Gambino, man, what more can be said and Donald Glover that hasn’t already been said... a lot of it by me.

I have been a huge fan of this guy since day one. I was at his first European show and two days later his first UK show. And now I was also at his last. He’s been saying all along on this tour that it is the final one and the album he’s currently finishing up will be his last.

I believe it too. The dude is super busy with film, tv, writing, producing and generally being a modern day renaissance man. On top of that he has quietly started a family in the last couple of years so I’m sure he’s wanting to spend at least some portion of his busy life with them.

I was hesitant about seeing him, or any band for that matter, in such a big venue. Stadium shows are never as special as smaller clubs or venues, and I’ve seen him at a festival before and it honestly wasn’t great. But I knew this was likely the last chance to see him perform so I wasn’t going to miss it.

I am so glad I was there though. Comparing it to other Gambino shows that I’ve been to; smallish venue in Paris, tiny basement in London, slightly larger basement in London, festival main stage, this one weirdly felt closer to that tiny basement of an art studio in London than anything else just for the energy that was put into the show! Sure the stage at The 02 was bigger than that whole club but he spent the entire set out on the platform into the crowd so it gave his performance that same feeling.

Production wise it was the biggest thing I’ve seen in years at a gig and the most visually impressive I’ve ever seen!

The house lights were kept off, obviously, but they had an intricate series of lasers and LED walls that moved about the stage projecting all sorts of amazing effects and imagery.

The band were highlighted and in an almost orchestral pit just in front of the stage which was cool, and the backing vocalists/dancers he had on this tour, a new addition to every other time I’ve seen him, weren’t just their to give the crowd more to look at, they felt like they were a part of the band.

Pictures don’t do it justice and besides that after letting everyone snap their pictures and film their video frustratingly in portrait mode during the first song Donald spoke to the crowd and implored them to put the phones away and just enjoy the show! And people did!

Obviously there was still plenty of people snapping and filming at times but I haven’t seen such a large venue with so few phones out in well over a decade, it was so cool.

At one point they killed the lights and he snuck off stage, only for the projectors to show a live feed of him walking from the backstage area and out into the crowd... right behind our section! We were a little further over but it was still super cool. Props to the camera crew too, I was watching them at a few points and they were busting their asses running all over the place getting the best shots of the performers and the crowd especially in high energy moments.

Speaking of which, I’ve not been to many, but in the few I have I’ve never seen a pit open up at a rap show before! That was a sight to see! It looked like they were all in good spirits and just enjoying the energy of the show, I didn’t see any aggression anywhere.

I obviously bought tickets so it seems silly to say, but I feel really lucky to have been able to be apart of and least witness to the entire experience. Not just this last bunch of shows, but to the breadth of ‘Childish Gambino’ all stages of his performing live.

Maybe one day Donald Glover will be back on stage performing music, but I doubt it’ll be as Gambino and he won’t be playing these songs again. Hell, he didn’t play anything older than a couple of years at this show! He’s a dude who likes to evolve and keep moving forward... I’ve got all the time in the world for people with that attitude.

I was going to write about how it took me ages to get home and I didn’t end up in bed until one thirty but that felt like a great place to end and I’ve already soured it with this. So unlike Gambino, I’ll be back tomorrow with more but until then

Keep moving forward.

#events #musicians #livemusic #powerofmusic #music #childishgambino #movies #editing #friends #social #bars #london #travel

©2017 by James Hewlett.