Macklemore. Climate Pledge Arena. Seattle, WA Dec. 21st

On the shortest day and longest night of the year when winter solstice’s dark hours loom over the Pacific Northwest, one of Seattle’s hometown musical heroes returned as a bright beacon of light. The radiant rapper Macklemore burst out from backstage to the front of the house for a rousing opener with “CHANT,” the inspirational first release from 2023’s BEN (titled after his Jet City birthname, Benjamin Haggerty). The song’s mantra of perseverance through opposition, failure, and fears immediately resonated with the sold-out crowd on the first of two back-to-back shows at the Climate Pledge Arena. Macklemore’s introductory number concluded with awe-inspiring imagery, as a platform elevated him into the air with arms held high, encouraging all to always try to continue to rise. The theatrics embodied a connection with his fans in attendance that grew stronger throughout the night.

After returning to solid ground, the gracious multi-platinum artist paused momentarily to thank his fans for their support over the years before bounding into the megahit “Thrift Shop” from 2012’s The Heist. The all-out full-of-fun dance party performance was made whole by Macklemore donning a faux fur leopard print coat that sent the evening’s already festive vibes into maximum overdrive. The feel-good celebration extended into “NO BAD DAYS” (BEN) which included Macklemore’s backing crew grooving in sync with his smoothed-out moves.

While real time worldwide problems and raw internal struggles were addressed throughout the show, Macklemore kept a door open for fans to escape from reality and explore a musical realm where happiness and joy reign supreme. The rapper’s sly humor and engaging personality made the escape easy, propelled by an in-the-air, over-the-arena motorcycle ride rendition of “Downtown” (from 2016’s This Unruly Mess I’ve Made) and his hilarious performance as British rap royalty alter ego Raven Bowie, in “And We Danced” (from 2009’s The Unplanned Mixtape). An infamous Macklemore “dance off” followed, with two audience members partaking in a battle royale - one of many moments where the world’s woes were washed and replaced by the sheer delight of Ben’s showtime extravaganza.

A few brief interludes, like Zombie Nation’s “Kernkraft 400” and The Champ’s “Tequila” blasting as upbeat backdrops and Capri Sun refreshments tossed to the crowd, hinted that the show would run a bit long, which it did. The 11:15 pm encore was one well worth waiting for, as Macklemore pulled up fan favorites “The Town” (The Unplanned Mixtape) and “My Oh My” (The Heist) before exploding into the finale, global chart-topper “Can’t Hold Us” (The Heist). Macklemore made his super octane set one to remember, bringing the Garfield High School marching band (his Alma mater) to join in and rock out for the iconic tune’s final beats. As the clock neared midnight, Macklemore jumped over a barricade into the throes of fervent concertgoers, an endnote to the glorious night showing the darkest of days can bring forth the brightest of light.



Thrift Shop


White Walls

Same Love





Starting Over



And We Danced (followed by the Dance Off)




The Town

My Oh My

Good Old Days

Can't Hold Us