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Gambino Got the Game Locked

Posted 12/12/2018 by Erin Maloof

The album cover for Gambino's hit single This is America, which is also the name of his most recent tour. photo courtesy of Spotify

Award winning actor, comedian, director, and musician Donald Glover spent a memorable night in Denver performing as Childish Gambino on his final tour.

On December 4th, Donald Glover graced the Pepsi Center with his presence. Originally set to perform on October 12th, Glover had to postpone the concert until December since he broke his foot in Austin earlier this year. After waiting two months to see him, fans were especially eager for his performance.

The musician and rapper known as Childish Gambino was born Donald McKinley Glover Jr. on September 25th, 1983. He grew up in a suburb outside of Atlanta, Georgia and ever since he was a child, he had a passion for creative writing. In fact, before he even thought about being a musician full time, he aspired to be a comedian and writer. After high school, he went on to graduate from New York University Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in Dramatic Writing. However, it was in college that he also discovered his knack for music and released his first self-produced mixtape called The Younger I Get. He then decided he needed a better stage name, and used a Wu-Tang-Clan rap name generator to come up with the name he still performs under to this day: Childish Gambino.

Glover got his start in mainstream comedy by writing for the show 30 Rock. He had submitted a sample episode script for the show The Simpsons, and his work caught the eye of comedian Tina Fey. She then invited him to work on 30 Rock as a writer. He was also featured in the NBC sitcom Community where he tried his hand at acting. At the same time, he was still writing and producing music on the side and his work was quickly gaining popularity. With each new mixtape he released, more and more people were listening to Childish Gambino. He had to pause some of his comedic writing work so that he could go on tour and perform for the thousands of people who related to the messages in his music.

Fast forward to 2018 – five EPs, seven mixtapes, three studio albums, one hit TV show and 34 awards later (including a Grammy) – Donald Glover is beyond loved. After touring for each of his three albums, Camp (2011), Because of the Internet (2013) and Awaken, My Love (2016), he stated that this most recent tour, This Is America, is his last. On the first night of the tour in Atlanta’s Infinite Energy Arena. he told the crowd, “if you are at this show, know it is the last Gambino tour ever.”

This final tour comes as no surprise. Glover has been hinting at retiring since last January. With the release of his most recent album, he let fans know that the next album will most likely be the last Gambino album. Many fans are upset because the music of Childish Gambino is incredible, unique, and utterly irreplicable. However, as the artist himself, Glover knows what is best for himself and his career. Fans so far have respected the life decisions he is making, despite how it saddens the community. Retiring the name does give him more time to pursue other projects and to continue putting effort into his hit show Atlanta, so it is not likely Donald Glover will be disappearing from the limelight anytime soon.

The This Is America tour, named after the hit influential single, came to Denver on December 4th. The concert was sold out and people of all ages came to pack the house. Energy levels were high and only continued to climb as up-and-coming rapper Vince Staples opened the show. Once the house lights turned off and the stage lit up, the crowd went wild as Donald Glover stepped on stage into the spotlight. He proceeded to tell the crowd: “This isn’t just any concert. This is church.” It truly was. Donald Glover put on an incredible show that was well choreographed, full of intense visuals, and of course, his remarkable songs. The entire time fans energetically danced and passionately sang along to songs like 3005 and Redbone. Frequent concert goer and TJ junior Mary Scott said: “[Glover] is incredibly clever and inventive, and his concert was probably the best I have ever been too. It was beautiful, wonderfully paced, and really emotional. Seeing him live was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had.” Other concert goers tended to agree. Junior Kyle McPheron also attended the show, and said: “It was amazing, the lights were beautiful, the music was great. I am so glad I was able to be a part of his final tour.”

From the audience’s energy, it was clear to see just how loved Glover is. Without a doubt, his music will continue to be appreciated by people everywhere. While his musical presence will be missed once he retires the name, every incredible song he has already produced is available for loyal listeners and new ears to enjoy. To Glover himself, fans will continue to “be right by your side, till 3005.”