Concert Reviews

Macklemore Brought Raven Bowie, News of New Album to WinStar on Friday

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Winstar World Casino, Thackerville, Oklahoma
Friday, January 15, 2016

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis played to more than 3,000 people on Friday night at WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma, skipping a Dallas date on their current tour to go for the cross-the-border spoils of the casino circuit. But after a particularly rough week for music fans, the positivity of the duo's set and enthusiasm of their fans — even in a room of complete strangers — was nothing short of refreshing.

The pair have been touring for several years now on The Heist, the 2012 album that scored them four Grammy awards and made them mainstream stars. But on Friday night Macklemore and Lewis had a special announcement to make too, as they revealed plans for their long-awaited sophomore album. This Unruly Mess I’ve Made is set to come out February 26.

Given the long stretch since their last album, it's not unfair to wonder: Does anyone actually care about Macklemore, outside of the "Thrift Shop" song and the one about gay marriage ("Same Love")? Your immediate answer might be “surely not” if you hadn’t been at WinStar — which Mack described as "Willy Wonka for gambling adults" — on Friday night. But for everyone there, it was clearly a resounding, "Yes!"

Without the video work, many attendees may have missed a huge part of the show, due to the single-level seating arrangements and lots of hands in the air and tall people (all things to be expected at a show, though). But when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis came out, people went berserk. Backed by three brass instruments and way, way too much bass, Macklemore shouted the introduction, “Oklahoma, welcome to The Heist.”

The energy in the crowd at this show was phenomenal. At one point Macklemore, who was talking in between nearly every song (not that we're complaining), asked the crowd how many people were from Thackerville. Although I highly doubt most of the the crowd was from Thackerville, everyone was still in a frenzy after the first two songs, as Macklemore pointed to an audience member and said, “that guy’s wasted!” and everybody cheered. “Rules of a hip-hop show,” Macklemore then added, “fuck a seat. We came here to party!”

Xperience (the opening act) joined Macklemore on stage for the "Crew Cuts" song, which also boasts the lyric: “Never find the baby: David Bowie, Labyrinth.” At the mention of David Bowie, even though embedded in a song that is almost six years old, you could hear a resounding ‘augh’ from the crowd, as if everyone had been punched in the gut. He also later brought out his character Raven Bowie (aka Macklemore dressed in a Bowie-esque wig as well as a sparkly cape) for the song "And We Danced."

Before jumping into "Wings," Macklemore got more personal, sharing the story of his former drug-addicted life and having gone to rehab in 2008. "Trust me, it's not dope to be 25 and move back to your parents' basement."

Then "Same Love" came on and the crowd that I thought couldn’t roar any louder got way more thunderous. Macklemore said, “No law should tell you who you can love,” and the man behind me simply said, “Hallelujah!” as the crowd around him went absolutely insane.

Only an appearance by Fort Worth star Leon Bridges, who appears on the studio version of the next song, "Kevin," could've upped the ante. Alas, fans had to make do with Bridges being projected in the background video, even given the show's proximity to his hometown.

The last performance before the three-song encore was "Downtown" featuring Eric Nally from Ohio band Foxy Shazam. The high-energy song ended the set but not before it initiated the wildest dance party that Oklahoma may have ever seen. Everyone — and I mean everyone — was on their feet, dancing to this song about mopeds.

Macklemore told the crowd a couple times that he really liked them. Of course, he probably says that about all of his crowds, but so what? On a night like that, after the week that had just passed, it was just what everyone wanted to hear. “We've got some people and some glitter and some fur and some gold chains,” Macklemore said, “an eclectic mix of human beings, as you'd expect to find at the casino in Thackerville. I love it.”

Set List:

10,000 Hours

Thrift Shop

Crew Cuts


Same Love


White Walls


And We Danced

Irish Celebration

Can’t Hold Us

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