Review: Macklemore @ The Riverstage (Brisbane)

Macklemore at The Riverstage, Brisbane, on 17 May, 2024 - image © Keely Baker
I'm Keali and I live in Brisbane. I love anything cats, country or metal, and I love a good moshpit. When I'm not behind the camera or writing, I am probably at band practice or reading with my cat and a cup of tea.

It was a chilly evening in Brisbane, but there was no doubt that blood was pumping and energetic dance moves were on full display at The Riverstage for Macklemore.

The night (17 May) began with opening act Beeba, who energised the crowd with a mix of throwbacks and club favourites, delivering a powerful set that included songs such as 'No Scrubs' and 'Mr Brightside'.

In a touching moment, Beeba paused to thank his good friend, Macklemore, saying: "I just wanted to take a second to thank my big brother Ben for having me out on the 'Ben' tour. I grew up going to his shows, in middle school I would be in the front row just like all of you guys right here."

There is one thing that Beeba stands for, and that is self-love; he took several moments throughout his set filled with hits to remind the crowd to love themselves and look after each other, finishing his set by saying: "I just wanted to say one thing before I forget, if you take one thing away from this set, it's the words 'love yourself and know your worth'. So, when I say, 'love yourself', I want to hear you say 'know your worth'."

There was no doubt Beeba was the perfect start to the night, easily getting the crowd dancing and warmed up in preparation for Macklemore.

Beeba - image © Keely Baker

In traditional Macklemore style, he entered the stage with a flurry of dance moves, swagger and filled the open-air venue with energy.

Accompanied by a live band, backup dancers and his long-time friends, Tones And I and Beeba, Macklemore's dynamic entrance set the stage for what was to be an unforgettable performance.

Joking with the crowd from the start, he urged fans to get a few videos and photos, post them before adding: "I need your energy, I want to see you, I don't want to look at the back of an iPhone and I definitely don't want to look at the back of an Android. I’m kidding. But the point is I want to see you guys. I need your hands, I need your energy. Let's live in this moment together. This right here is enough."

Macklemore - image © Keely Baker

There's no doubt Macklemore truly embodies the message of his song 'Same Love'. Throughout the night, he emphasised the importance of love and support for one another, especially during these challenging times.

He went on to congratulate his Australian fans, saying: "We have to protect one another, and one of the things that I have seen is you guys look out for one another in a really beautiful way. I've seen it out and about and I just want to commend you Aussies."

Macklemore's distinctive trait as an artist has consistently been his knack for conveying meaningful messages and leveraging his platform for positive impact. His brand-new release, 'Hind's Hall', exemplifies his ethos as an artist – one who actively strives to effect change.

Prior to performing 'Hind's Hall', Macklemore addressed the audience, delivering a powerful message. "I want to say something that has been on my heart and has been on my heart for the last seven and a half months.

"I want to say that I am up here today, and every day for the rest of my life and every day that I am onstage, in support and in solidarity with the Palestinian people that just want the same needs met that we have, they just want liberation that we have, they just want to breathe the same breaths without having to fear for their lives that we have this evening. That's it.

"It has completely shifted my heart the last seven and a half months watching the Palestinian people and their resilience in this moment to keep going and lead with love."

Macklemore - image © Keely Baker

During his electrifying performance of 'Dance Off', Macklemore amped up the excitement by inviting two audience members onto the stage for a dance battle. Their impressive dance skills left the crowd in awe and Macklemore visibly thrilled. The showdown added an extra layer of fun and energy to the night.

After inviting his good friend Tones And I to join him onstage several times throughout the night, Macklemore took a moment to pay his respects to her and all of her incredible work. He spoke warmly about their friendship and collaboration, highlighting her talent and the impact she has had on the music industry.

The evening was undeniably charged with a unique atmosphere, as both the crowd and the artist revelled in their mutual appreciation for each other. Macklemore, truly appreciative of the moment, continued by expressing his gratitude: "My friends and family call me Ben, please call me Ben, because you are my family."

Macklemore - image © Keely Baker

After the final chords rang out and the stage lights dimmed, Macklemore took the time to see his fans after the show, jumping off the stage, taking photos, signing and sharing laughs.

Artists frequently leave their fans in awe after a performance, but it's unmistakable that Macklemore stands out as one who goes the extra mile to ensure his fans' voices are heard. Every individual in the audience walked out knowing they have a place where they're embraced and valued for who they are and that is undeniably a special feeling for an artist to create.

More photos from the concert.

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