Childish Gambino ends 2-year tour with show-stopping festival performance


Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman

Childish Gambino’s Austin City Limits set marked the end of his last live tour using the pseudonym. There is currently no plan for the unreleased songs Gambino peformed during the tour.

Otherworldly, religious, life changing: Childish Gambino promised to take us to church and during weekend two of Austin City Limits, he did just that. After having to cancel last year’s performance due to a foot injury, Gambino came back to an eager crowd with renewed vigor.

Fans waited anxiously on an almost completely full lawn at the American Express stage for the Saturday headliner. At 8 p.m., the crowd roared as they spotted Gambino being lifted up into the air by a moving platform in the middle of the crowd. He stood motionless, clad only in plain white pants as his unreleased song  “Atavista”  played from the stage.

After descending from the platform, Gambino proceeded to walk through a crowd of screaming fans as he sang “Algorythm,” another unreleased song made special just for the tour, and made his way up to the stage. If there was ever a true definition of an entertainer, Gambino would fit the bill. He kept the crowd on their feet with his smooth dance moves and howling vocal riffs.

There was true magic in the air and it wasn’t just from him playing his hit “Summertime Magic.” Gambino announced that this was his last show of his two year “This Is America” tour, which made the night feel even more special, especially when he told the crowd that on a scale of one to 10, we were at a 32.

While he performed deep cuts from his most recent album “Awaken, My Love!,” he also played fan favorites such as “3005” and “IV. Sweatpants” from his record, “Because the Internet.” The crowd was encouraged to feel the love, church clap and bounce around as much as humanly possible due to the massive amount of people squeezed together.

Most headliners try to put on an amazing show, but Gambino truly pulled out all the stops for his final one. Not only did he have an amazing backing band and gospel choir, but he also walked through the crowd multiple times to sign fans’ vinyl and take selfies with them. The light show and occasional firework didn’t hurt either.

The true pièce de résistance was the closing song, “Redbone,” one of Gambino’s most popular tracks. The crowd’s energy was infectious during the number, as everyone sang along to the iconic lyrics. Gambino even ventured into the masses one last time to roll around in the grass as the number came to a frantic climax.

To describe his set as just another show at ACL would be an understatement. Simply put, this was an experience that I’m not sure I’ll ever see the likes of again. If I never stop talking about this performance for the rest of my life, I still wouldn’t be able to do it the justice that it deserves.