Macklemore Makes A Sold-Out Armory Feel Absolutely Glorious on A Sunday Night


Are you feeling glorious today? If you are, chances are you were at the sold-out Armory show on Sunday night featuring Macklemore. I, for one, am absolutely feeling glorious but am also feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the world this week. It’s crazy how just one show can affect every bone of your body all the way down to your soul but that’s exactly what Macklemore did with his performance on Sunday.

Before Macklemore took over the stage, the excited and packed Armory was treated to a quick DJ set from DJ Beeba. Beeba knew just what to play but also pushed the audience into different decades of music in a perfect way. Hailing from Seattle, Washington, Beeba was there to help the audience sweat, dance, and sing which is exactly what he did. With the mantra “Love yourself and know your worthy” flashing on the giant screen behind him throughout his set, Beeba had a very positive message about his performance that felt to reign supreme over the jams he was playing. There was just something uplifting and light-hearted about his quick set that really stuck with me but also wasn’t a surprise knowing the headliner. Beeba closed out his set with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” from Marvin Gaye and an obligatory picture of him in front of the audience for his mom and then the house lights came on.

I can not explain how palpable the excitement in the audience was at this point. I knew that we still had a couple of minutes before the headliner would grace us with his presence but the rest of the audience didn’t and I watched as people hustled from bar to bathroom to friends to merch then back trying to make sure they wouldn’t miss a single moment of Macklemore’s set. Typically this would give me a sense of judgement about those people. I mean, it’s just a show and, I know I’m jaded, but if you miss a song, you miss a song. There’s no reason to get all huffy and puffy trying to hustle through all of your “tasks” between sets but, in the case of Sunday night. I got it. I had a feeling I knew what was going to happen as soon as the lights went down and I knew I didn’t want to miss a single second of it so no judgment on those running around like lost puppies trying to find their friends just in time for the show to start.

You know who Macklemore is. You know his songs or at least know his hit song “Thrift Shop” which hit it big around 2013. Although I feel like Macklemore has struggled to find the same success with his newer material as he did with “Thrift Shop”, he hasn’t stopped grinding and has remained a staple in the daily playlist of a lot of people including myself. Born Benjamin Haggerty in Seattle, WA, Macklemore is just one of those humans that you either love or hate but, if you dig into his story, it’s hard to hate him. He’s real, he’s raw, and he has put his emotional health and past hiccups into the spotlight in a way as to help people understand that, although he is Macklemore, he still deals with the same things we all do on a daily basis. There’s something about that that really gets me all up in my feels and something about seeing him perform live always makes me an emotional mess but in the best way. Sunday night was no different.

I could go through Macklemore’s eighteen-song set list song-by-song and tell you about how each song made me feel something different but that would do nothing for you because, even if you had been there, you wouldn’t have had the same experience as I did. That being said, I think it’s safe to assume that everyone had a great time and was fully captivated by the huge band that Macklemore brought with him and the smaller moments that, although minute in retrospect, meant everything to everyone in The Armory at that time.

The second that Macklemore took the stage, the audience went wild. It took him a second but then he announced, “I’m Back!!!”. There was something about those words alone that hit so hard. We all struggled through the pandemic, that’s nothing new, but Macklemore struggled enough that he relapsed on his sobriety and suffered a near-fatal overdose. I remember reading about that at one point and my heart breaking. Macklemore has such a powerful and positive aura about him that it was hard to imagine he had relapsed but, at the same time, it showed how he is just a regular person with talent. All of this was put into his new album, ‘Ben’ which I was excited to hear songs.

‘Ben’ has a bit more of a mature taste to it than some of Macklemore’s previous works but, when performed live, those songs blended in perfectly with anthemic tracks like “Downtown” and “Dance Off”. The newer songs just seemed to come with a little bit more heart, more passion, more fire. The mix of old and new throughout the set was on point but, more importantly, Macklemore picked perfect points in the set to show a raw vulnerability. I won’t give away all of the setlist or what those moments were for those of you who still have to see this tour but it was truly a rollercoaster ride of a set and, for someone who typically hates rollercoasters, I was strapped in and ready to go the entire night.

There was fire, a squirt gun, a full band, and dancers, it was a production, to say the least. It gave the audience a lot to see and absolutely kept the army of young children in attendance entertained yet, even with all of the production value, the two-hour set was just Macklemore. No, scratch that, it was Ben. As he mentioned after just a couple of songs, the algorithm means nothing. Instagram, TikTok, and social media in general means nothing. “The university is going to put you right where you’re supposed to be, ” he told the crowd and, he was right. The universe meant for Ben to be on that stage and for those in attendance to be in attendance. I should have taken more notes, I know I should have, but I was in the moment and that’s exactly where the universe wanted me to be on Sunday night.