Cash? Check. ID in order to pick up ticket at will call? Check. Phone tucked securely into my pocket? Check. Knowledge of all the lyrics to “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”? Check.
Going into Lafayette College’s Fisher Field, I was prepared to have a great time at the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis concert. It took a while before my friend and I found parking–after driving around Easton, PA for 20 minutes avoiding the drunken college students and willing one of the patrons at Wawa to move their car to give us an easy spot. We eventually found parking outside of a church a few blocks from the field. By the time we got to the entrance to the field, it was raining heavily, but we were happy because we had come prepared with rain gear. Thankfully, I was not the only one in a poncho–I even befriended some nice girls from Albany, NY who were all sporting their own ponchos. (No matter what anyone says, there is absolutely no way to make a poncho look flattering; you just have to grin, bear it, and get over it.)
When my friend and I finally got our tickets and got inside, security was diverting everyone away from the field and under a parking structure. No matter how many personnel we asked, no one had any answers for at least a half hour. Thunder and lightning were the only thing that could lead to a cancellation of the concert, they said. Finally, after completely missing the first act, security began letting people into the field. My friend and I were some of the first people as we sped through the security pat downs and ran past the second group of personnel, waving our tickets in the air.
The stage was set up on the far side of the football field with temporary flooring covering the grass. There was already a mass of people around the stage that must have been let in prior to the thunder and lightning. My friend and I plunged into the crowd to supposedly look for our friend Ashley. “Where’s Ashley?” is a trick–that I’d never heard about–to get through a crowd of people. It works especially well at a concert if you want to get close to the stage. The sun started to come out and I shed my poncho just as the concert got back underway.
The first act up was Timeflies, an “electro hip pop dub-something” duo from New York City. I was not familiar with the group, though they’ve been around for a few years, but I really enjoyed their music. Their set was full of high energy songs that made for good dancing music. They played their new single “I Choose U,” which is one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard in a long time. By the second chorus, I was singing along with the rest of the crowd. The vocalist also free-style rapped, customizing it to include some things about Lafayette College. Another song sampled some Top 40 tracks such as Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.” The duo also played their song “Under the Sea” which–you guessed it–samples Disney’s The Little Mermaid with a bit of a twist. Those particular numbers indulged both the lover of trashy pop music and the life-long fan of Disney songs in me. Although I’d never heard of Timeflies before, their set certainly made a fan out of me. (See what I did there with the Mulan reference?)
There was some time before Macklemore & Ryan Lewis came on in which my friend and I were squashed forward in the crowd. We made friends with a pair of guys next to us who were smart enough to buy water bottles and use them sparingly. The sun had been beating down on the whole crowd for the entirety of Timeflies’ set and those guys probably could have sold a water bottle for $20. My friend and I continued to be pushed forward until Macklemore & Ryan Lewis finally took the stage.
The rap duo’s set was fantastic. I am, of course, a fan of their newest singles “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” but I’ve also fallen in love with their entire album The Heist. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed many tracks off the album, as well as some of their old songs. The duo had a horn player on stage with them who was fantastic. At one point, Macklemore noticed a guy in the crowd with a large fur coat like the one he wore in the video for “Thrift Shop.” It was passed through the crowd to the stage where Macklemore donned the coat and proceeded to perform the hit that skyrocketed him to fame earlier this year. (At this point I was starting to get scarily dehydrated and my memory is a bit fuzzy.)
Macklemore performed his song “Same Love,” which talks about LGBTQ issues. The rapper took this opportunity to talk a little about the subject while the crowd applauded and cheered. Although this is a more serious topic, it’s so ingrained into Macklemore’s music and personality that it worked with his set. Plus, a college crowd is certainly the right audience for those issues.
When they performed “Can’t Hold Us,” Macklemore climbed into the crowd, standing with only the fans to support him. People surged toward him, the crowd became unstable, and he fell. Somehow, Macklemore made it back to the stage while my friend and I escaped from the crowd after she broke her shoe and we were both almost trampled.
From the outskirts, we listened and danced to the last few songs. Macklemore left the stage at one point and came back with a curly blonde wig and bright blue sparkly cape (I really wish I’d gotten a picture of it.) I didn’t recognize these last songs so they must be from his earlier albums, but the crowd loved them. Macklemore ended the concert by thanking everyone on stage and in the crowd. My friend and I paused on the steps leading out of the stadium to look back and watch Macklemore & Ryan Lewis leave the stage before we followed the stream of people out of Fisher Field.
Though the rain shower drenched me and the sunburn is going to sting for a few days, I had an amazing time at the concert. I can now say “We put our hands like the ceiling couldn’t hold us.”