Childish Gambino

Osheaga, Montreal QC, August 4

Photo: Chris Bubinas

BY Courtney Baird-LewPublished Aug 5, 2019

As the last headlining act of the festival edged ever closer, a bonfire of white smoke rose from the centre of the massive audience, announcing the dramatic arrival of one Childish Gambino (real name Donald Glover). A hydraulic, circular platform, edged with disco balls, made its way through the haze towards the sky, elevating the shirtless, heavily bearded polymath along with it.
Opening with the powerful, gospel-tinged "Atavista," microphone hanging by his side, the track then melded into "Algortyhm" (off a yet-to-be-announced upcoming album). The platform then descended, allowing for Gambino to run through the crowd, behind security-guarded barriers, toward the main stage, where a group of gospel singers awaited him. Encouraging the audience to put away their phones, stating: "This is a church experience, we don't need to commodify the moment," he later descended into the crowd to take selfies with the masses.
Moving into "Summertime Magic" with tropical plants and a group of talented, teen backup dancers swaying in the background, Gambino's swaggering, magnetic charisma pulsated through the crowd; his actor-trained eyes found every camera, his dance moves hit every note.
Continuing with the Chance the Rapper-featured track "The Worst Guys" and "Worldstar" off of 2013's Because the Internet, with fireworks bursting in the background, the rapper/singer/actor then eased his way smoother tracks off Awaken, My Love!, as well as "Feels Like Summer" and crowd-favourites "Sober," "3005" and "Sweatpants," with nearly the entire audience rapping along, word-for-word.
While a faulty set of speakers muffled his sound for those listening off to stage right, Gambino's outstanding showmanship overshadowed all technical difficulties, with the highly anticipated "This Is America" throwing the thousands watching into a frenzy.
Ending his phenomenal set with a new song titled "Human Sacrifice" and the soul-warming "Redbone," it became clear that it is, indeed Donald Glover's world. We just happen to be living in it.

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