Remember when Donald Glover was a young, budding actor searching for a new experimental medium beyond network television? NBC’s Community gave the 25 year old Californian an opportunity to break out of his chrysalis in 2009, but it wasn’t until the birth of his alter ego Childish Gambino in 2011 that Glover was able to spread his imaginative wings and truly fly.
Flash-forward 7 years to his performance at Boston’s TD Garden and there’s no doubt the now fully bearded, wily-haired Childish Gambino has reached experimental maturity. His approach to the 2018 “This Is America Tour” seemed borderline prophetic, as he followed his opening song with the assertively bold statement that “We’re not in this concrete building just to yell at each other. This is church.” That theme rang true throughout the entire night while Childish Gambino danced through his non-choreographed routine sporting his trademark no-shirt-white-pants look.. He would continue his prescient yet self-aware comments as the night went on, kindly asking the crowed to “Be yourself tonight…I’ve seen prayer circles and I’ve seen mosh pits at a Childish Gambino Concert.” Childish Gambino’s most noteworthy act of affinity found him leaving the stage a third of the way into his set, literally walking into through the hallways of the TD Garden and then into the stands in the adjacent loge seating. It was here that he highlighted his piano player’s endearing skills as he sang a cut of his 2014 song “Late Night In Kauai”. Call his over-arching “sanctuary” approach a bit hyperbolic, but the man did a genuinely exceptional job at making his fans feel like they were in a religious institution of music..
Glover’s aforementioned maturity by no means indicates that he’s slowing down either. Looking at the creative disparity of the 4 albums he currently has to his name, the only rational assumption about Childish Gambino’s vocation is that he will never stop creating. His 2018 social wrecking-ball “This Is America” was the highlight of the show, prompting an arena to step beyond singing into a collectively impassioned yell. His other two contemporary 2018 singles “Feels Like Summer” and “Summertime Magic” were the lighter transitional catalysts that kept the rest of his hits fresh and provocative. No matter where Childish Gambino goes from here, you can be sure that his live show will be a winsome display of connective art.
Below is a playlist of setlist performed by Childish Gambino at the TD Garden on September 12th, 2018.
Favorite Live Tracks: This Is America, 3005, Sober, Redbone, Terrified