Macklemore at Target Center: An embarrassing timeline


Welcome to the timeline of Macklemore's regrettable concert Wednesday at Target Center in Minneapolis! 

9:05 p.m. — Contentious Seattle-based rapper Macklemore takes the stage. It’s no secret that Mack’s bread and butter is finding surface-level common ground with his fans and then exploiting that connection into oblivion. So it’s no surprise when his cry of "love for Minneapolis!" is introduced with serious enthusiasm. He’s even wearing a goddamn Twins jersey.

9:10 p.m. — Mack lets the crowd know that Minneapolis and Seattle are actually sister cities, which causes at least one reporter to do a quick Google scan. 

9:11 p.m. — Seattle and Minneapolis are not, in fact, sister cities or recognized as such in any official capacity. Interesting aside: Santiago, Chile and Minneapolis, Minnesota are sister cities.

9:18 p.m. — At the end of some Macklemore song an easel is brought on stage. Mack’s got a sharpie and the crowd cheers wildly as the rapper does his doodle. The piece ends up looking sorta like the Uncle Franky's mascot, if a little sloppier. Signature takes up half the page.

9:20 p.m. — Set pieces move in the dark while Macklemore buys time with a seriously plodding story about becoming a parent.

Notice Macklemore's new haircut.

Notice Macklemore's new haircut.

9:21 p.m. — "Thrift Shop" is introduced. This reporter's +1 informs reporter that the song is one of the most successful hits of the modern payola era, which turns out to be true.

9:22 p.m. — Crowd really likes to scream the “this is fucking awesome” line from the chorus, are blissfully unaware of the rhetorical irony.

9:24 p.m. — Thousands of jackals in attendance give Mack a standing ovation for performing one of the most condescending songs ever recorded.

Another aside: Giant set pieces and massive screens are welcome additions to the modern pop concert experience. Macklemore’s feel a bit slight. The visuals on the big monitors, which in the case of "Thrift Shop" show items referenced in the song, contain all the flair of a PowerPoint presentation.

9:26 p.m. — The backing band goes full blasé indie-rock for a song that’s probably in a car commercial. The piggybacking is obvious, mostly competent. Macklemore is the Jet of hip-hop.

9:26 p.m. — Guitarist looks like he was trying to find a functional outfit for packing in a day at the mall, an afternoon on the basketball court, and a night playing guitar for Macklemore without changing. Outfit comes complete with headband, man-bun, mustache.

9:26 p.m. — Reporter feels like an asshole for typing all these notes into his phone and not focusing on the stage, looks around, no longer feels like an asshole.

9:32 p.m. — Mack gives a v. philosophical spoken-word rant about the inequity of the big sneaker industry. $100 for a pair of sneaks? Macklemore is outraged. And you know what? So is the crowd. Some of them wordlessly acknowledge the significant sacrifices their parents made to get them to a Macklemore concert.

9:38 p.m. — Mack is getting political. Evil Trump is mentioned. Boo! Hiss! Reporter thinks he knows where this is going.

9:39 p.m. — Mack doesn’t care what bathroom you use. Crowd goes crazy when told he doesn’t care about your sexual orientation either.

9:40 p.m. — Media put on blast. Macklemore has no idea who he’s fucking with.

9:40 p.m. — "Same Love" begins. It’s probably the most reprehensible entry in a reprehensible canon.

We'd go further, but the Lonely Island just put out the perfect send-up to this monstrosity. Check it out if you’re still wondering why this rapper is so problematic.

Choice line from the Lonely Island spoof: "It just seems (not gay) wrong (not gay) / That no one seems to care (sports) / We can't continue to pretend / This (not gay) madness has to end (not gay)"

9:41 p.m. — The girls in attendance sing the chorus. The dudes? Not so much. Progress not perfection, bros.

9:44 p.m. — Mack does some serious rapid-fire Twista-lite raps. He’s got some talent lurking within, sure. Just throwing that out there.

9:44 p.m. — Still, this is pretty fucking stupid.

9:48 p.m. — Crowd cheers at opening of "White Privilege II." It’s apparently a sequel of sorts.

9:49 p.m. — Song is biting, unsuccessfully, at the free jazz/noise of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Comes off like the Weird Al version of 2PaB, which, of course, is something the universe never asked for.

9:53 p.m. — This song is really long and stupid and boring and condescending.

9:54 p.m. — Oh no!!! Your reporter would rather keep this to himself, but here it goes: The trumpeter, the lone black member of Macklemore's band, stands up to the mic to talk about race and racially motivated violence in America. He then lists off a couple names and it's implied that the crowd should cheer. Trayvon Martin gets the most enthusiastic cheer. Eric Garner the least. The reporter finds this a little problematic.

9:56 p.m. — Tons of people on their cell phones. Song continues. Reporter's +1 sending work e-mails on an iPad.

9:58 p.m. — Song mercifully comes to an end. Mack does some crowd work. Long call-and-response suite goes off the rails. Starts simple — “when I say hey, you say ho!” sort of thing — before devolving into nonsense. Pretty sure there was a cock-a-doodle-doo thrown in there. Gives reporter sensation akin to watching The Lobster on acid.

9:59 p.m. — Back to the Minneapolis pandering. Diversity of city mentioned by Mack and applauded by mostly white, almost certainly suburban attendees. Rapper says he wants to like, maybe, someday, even move here maybe.

10:01 p.m. — Rant over. Prince not mentioned.

10:02 p.m. — Matt Damon shout-out in rap song about eating snacks.

10:03 p.m. — Cookies tossed into audience.

10:04 p.m. — Make some noise for food! Mack list off a couple fast food restaurants and it’s implied that the crowd should cheer. Taco Bell gets the most enthusiastic cheer. Pizza Hut the least. The reporter finds this a little problematic.

10:08 p.m. — More Minneapolis pandering.

10:14 p.m. — Architecturally insincere hit “Can't Hold Us” is playing. Crowd goes crazy.

10:16 p.m. — Mack walks on the crowd.

10:17 p.m. — Mack is back on the stage. Band exits stage.

10:18 p.m. — Crowd cheers for an encore without irony.

10:20 p.m. — Video of Macklemore origin story introduces encore. Maybe the most embarrassing thing in the embarrassing sea of a Macklemore concert.

10:25 p.m. — Oh no! A Prince tribute. Mack gets a lap dance behind a purple backdrop to “Kiss,” which is your reporter’s favorite Prince song. You know why that’s such a great song? Subtlety.

10:30 p.m. — Weird dance hall thing seems a bit inappropriating. Oops, I mean inappropriate. Slip of the tongue.

10:33 p.m. — Dancers referred to as Macklerettes.

10:36 p.m. — Macklemore actually scores a bucket with speech about getting sober and how grateful he is to be on stage. It’s actually pretty cool.

10:36 p.m. — Goodwill vanquished by so much Minneapolis pandering. St. Paul given first shout-out.

10:38 p.m. — Goddamn this concert just won’t end.

10:40 p.m. — Super-short encore break. Concert ends with Macklemore’s ode to hip-hop roots, “Downtown.”

Critic's bias: I don’t like Macklemore.

Overheard in the crowd: “I already bought you a T-shirt and a hot dog, Kevin. You can’t have a poster.”

Crowd: All the demographic diversity of the outer-ring suburbs. 


Light Tunnels

Brad Pitt's Cousin


Thrift Shop

The Shades

... who cares? ...



Same Love

Growing Up

White Privilege II

St. Ides

Let's Eat

... seriously, who fucking cares? ...

White Walls

Can't Hold Us


And We Danced


Dance Off

Encore 2: