Just a few days before the sold out Macklemore and Ryan Lewis show the UAA Concert Board announced that local DJ Spencer Lee (formerly Encyclopedia Brown) would be opening up for the chart topping duo. Which put the (locally grown, well loved) cherry on top of an already well hyped show.
DJ Spencer Lee opened up the show with a mix of classic rap and hip hop to a crowd of eager fans dressed in variations of their best “Thrift Shop” inspired finds, onesies with the built in socks and more than a few mangy looking furs. Not to mention an awful lot of really bizarre gold and silver metallic outfits. This was clearly THE event for wearing out that outfit that would never be street acceptable otherwise.
When Macklemore took the stage, accompanied by his producer Ryan Lewis as well as a trumpet player and a few back up singers, the crowd went wild. Macklemore knows how to interact with his audience and his show consisted of mostly songs from his newest release The Heist, starting the show off with 10,000 Hours which is the first song from the album. The set was peppered with older tracks from his earlier releases The Versus EP but the energy stayed high.
The band’s biggest hit, “Thrift Shop” features Wanz on the album and in the video and the Seattle-based singer joined them on stage to sing the hook which surprised the crowd. Before the song started Macklemore asked the audience for a fur coat, found one and had it passed up to him on stage. He performed the song in the coat before instructing the audience to crowd surf it back to its owner. After the song Wanz was in the lobby shaking hands and getting to know his Alaskan fans. As I stood by waiting to snap a picture with him he told a girl who complimented him on his earrings that they were from Walgreens and that “he doesn’t spend money on anything.” Well played sir, way to stay true to your song lyrics. Also I’ve never seen a grandpa in that fresh of a cherry red suit but Wanz was making it work for him.
The high point of the night (for me at least) came during the encore. Macklemore’s fabulous Ziggy Stardust-esque alter ego Sir Raven Bowie took the stage in a long blonde wig and floor length cape to perform “And We Danced”, my personal favorite as far as dance jams go, from his Unplanned Mixtape release.
The show ended with Macklemore wearing a UAA Concert Board tee shirt (which he took off and threw into the crowd) and the sign off “Thank you for letting me come to Anchorage and pee in your snow.”
Later that night he tweeted:
Alaska is one of the loudest crowds in the world. Straight electricity in that bish. Shout out to all my boos. And fellas. Crazy
This was by far one of the most successfully executed shows I’ve seen at the Egan Center in a long time. Possibly since I saw Dishwalla there in the mid ’90s. The crowd was enthusiastic but not out of control, the sound was good and best of all, unlike the Beer Hell Debacle of last year’s Flogging Molly show, those of age to imbibe were able to get a drink quickly without missing any of the show. The UAA Concert Board knows how to throw a party and Macklemore puts on one hell of a show.
Photographer Kerry Tasker captured the night beautifully.