Friday, April 27, 2012
Walking down Broadway, having passed the intersection at West 53rd, I came to the end of a growing line of people, many of whom were dressed in neon colors and Most Dope or Macadelic branded wear. I was in search of the Roseland Ballroom, where Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller was set to perform, and I knew I was close.
When in New York City or just about any other travel destination, I never ask for directions or help finding a particular location – for fear of looking like the tourist that I am. So, knowing that I was nearing the venue, I decided to follow the long, wide line of people. The line guided me to the front door of the Roseland Ballroom, where a lit-up Benedum Center-style overheard sign stated "MAC MILLER – SOLD OUT."
It was my first time seeing the charismatic rapper in a city other than his hometown. Emotions were heavy outside, where friends shared laughs as they entered the ballroom and others shed tears as they were escorted out for reasons I’m unsure of. What’s certain is that Mac Miller has had a huge impact on these teenage and young adult fans’ lives.
As I made my way into the Roseland, the layout reminded me of Pittsburgh’s Stage AE, where I had seen Miller perform as he concluded his Blue Slide Park Tour in November of last year. About twice the size of AE, Roseland’s floor area would soon be filled and the balcony the same.
Woodland Hills graduates, and Local Beat alums, The Come Up opened the show promptly at 8 p.m. as the restless crowd flooded through the front doors. The duo of MCs Franchise and Vinny Radio has developed a widespread following as opening performers for Miller’s Blue Slide Park and Macadelic tours. In February, Miller told MTV that The Come Up would be the next big hip-hop act out of Pittsburgh. As their early summer album release approaches, they plan to prove these claims true.
Later in the night, it was time for Miller to take the stage. The screams from the audience grew louder as DJ Clockwork opened the set playing Miller’s "English Lane." As he moved on to drop the title song to Miller’s #1 album, Blue Slide Park, Miller and his long-time friend/hype-man TreeJay stepped out on stage to appease the sold out audience of thousands. Miller’s hi-top Nike’s lit-up blue as the crowd rocked along with hit songs "Party On 5th Ave." and "Knock, Knock."
"Tonight goes down as the greatest show of all-time," proclaimed Miller, who seemed happy as ever to be performing for the NYC crowd.
As the lights dimmed, DJ Clockwork maintained the attention of the audience for the brief transition from Mac’s previous work to his newest music from his Macadelic mixtape. The first single from the mixtape and one of the hypest songs from Miller’s now extensive catalogue, "Loud," dropped and the crowd went wild. Glowing mushrooms covered the back half of the stage and lit up in different colors as Miller re-appeared and jumped to the front of the stage.
Miller went from the rambunctious "Loud" to the introspective "Thoughts From a Balcony." It didn’t take long for fans to learn Miller’s newest music, as one of youngest-looking members of the youthful audience synchronously mouthed every word of the song with Miller.
Another memorable moment was when a video showed on the display screen that played background to the stage, showing Miller in his childhood years rapping Sugar Hill’s classic "Rapper’s Delight." The video continued showing different moments in Miller’s early life as he performed his song "Best Day Ever."
Reflecting on the Blue Slide Park Tour, Miller’s performance included many on-stage appearances from his Most Dope crew as they hyped up the audience throughout Miller’s set. The Macadelic Tour and Miller’s performance at Roseland was different. Many of the stand-out moments were intimate, with Miller standing alone on stage, only his DJ behind him.
As the audience sang along and waved their hands, Miller showcased one of the greatest strengths a performing artist can have – the ability to connect with your audience.
The Macadelic Tour continues, making stops at colleges along the northeast coast. Beginning in July, Miller joins Wiz Khalifa on the Under the Influence Tour. The tour stops at the First Niagara Pavilion on August 4.