(Billboard, 3 September 2016) – What You Missed at Childish Gambino’s ‘Pharos’ Shows This Weekend. By Ashley Lyle
On Friday night Sept. 2, Childish Gambino’s Pharos shows delivered fans music in a high-sensory audio and visual presentation in the middle of the desert in Joshua Tree, Calif. Performing five times over the course of the holiday, Gambino’s production provides a glimpse into how fans might consume live music in the future — and the bar has been set high. Here are eight reasons why this show is a must-see during the Labor Day holiday weekend.
The live musicians brought the music to a whole new level
Drums, percussion, keys, bass, guitar and even a choir brought to life as-of-yet-unreleased music from Gambino. A riveting guitar solo was a crowd pleaser at the midnight show. Who says that people only want to hear DJs and synthetic instruments from a computer?
Childish Gambino dressed in his element
In going along with the new direction his music has taken, Gambino emerged on stage in glow-in-the-dark tribal paint all over his face and body as well as what appeared to be a pink and yellow grass skirt with long cornrows to match. His outfit went along with the overall tribal theme of the show and provided an added aesthetic to the overall presentation.
California got a taste of Atlanta
Not only an artist but a talented actor as well, Gambino screened his upcoming scripted series on FX, Atlanta, which premieres Sept. 6. Episodes one through three played throughout the night in an outdoor amphitheater. The series shows promise for a budding audience enthralled with Atlanta hip-hop culture, while a cameo from Migos doesn’t hurt either.
It was a No Phone Zone
In order to protect the music that hasn’t yet been released, attendees were given a personal Yondr lockbag that had to be sealed and broken by security outdoors. There was an individual search of each and every person going into the venue. If you were planning on filming and Snapchatting during the show, forget about it. Yondr might be the solution to concert piracy.
Tents were all around the lot
Guests over 21 had the option of staying overnight and camping out in their own tents. Items were checked in upon arrival in a space individually reserved and booked. By 10 a.m. the next day, the camp site had to be clear to get ready for the next set of shows.
Everything was on a special app for the event
Since Gambino announced the Pharos shows in late June, an app has been in use to purchase tickets, dive more into the context surrounding Pharos, and even provide the typical event do’s and don’t’s listings. Tickets to purchase the show initially sold out in six minutes on the app, which prompted adding late night shows on Sept. 2nd and 3rd.
The dome was art personified
A design content partner with Microsoft and a collaboration with Mikael Gustafssson (animation), and Alejandro Crawford, the dome was truly the highlight of the night. the dome was truly the highlight of the night. Various animations captured the audience’s attention throughout the show. From dancing skeletons to psychedelic worlds, the dome’s animation and structure gave way to a much more in-depth, immersive experience into the music
Above all, don’t forget the music
Not a sequel to 3005, Gambino’s new music has a fusion of funk, soul, hip-hop and blues, among other genres, blended together to create a gumbo of audial goodness. It’s feel-good, going-down-memory-lane, being-in-your-feelings kind of music. It’s passionate, yet light and vibrant. It’s a must-listen so be on the lookout for when the material is released to the public. Fans will want to purchase this album.