NEW YORK — Earlier this year, Mac Miller celebrated his 21st birthday in Las Vegas, went to a Sin City nightclub, legally popped bottles and probably did a host of other unspeakable things that coming-of-age guys do. Still, it was in New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom that Mac exhibited the most growth — when he took his Space Migration Tour to the Big Apple on Tuesday night.
The crowd was already pumped after a frantic performance from newcomer Chance the Rapper, who exhibited a veteran’s command of the stage while tossing out songs from his Acid Rap mixtape and spraying fans with Super Soaker water guns. By 9:40 p.m., the pack of rabid concertgoers began to shout their hero’s name: “Mac, Mac, Mac, Mac,” the sold-out crowd chanted, as purple and red lights lit the ballroom and DJ Clockwork played an operatic intro.
The Most Dope Family leader marched onto the stage, wearing denim overalls, while rapping to “Loud,” from his 2012 Macadelic mixtape. For the first half of his show, Miller rocked with his DJ, and together, they ran through some old favorites including “Smile Back” and “Nikes on My Feet” as well as new selections from his Watching Movies With the Sound Off album — “Goosebumpz,” “Red Dot Music” and the Tyler, the Creator-produced “O.K.” Mac thrilled fans when he invited Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q and Earl Sweatshirt to collaborate, but kicked the entire set up a notch when he took a brief intermission to allow Odd Future-affiliated band The Internet to set up.
When Mac returned to the stage, he was barefoot, wearing a white tee and surf shorts. Backed by a full band, the rapper added new life to old favorites like “Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza” and “Best Day Ever” and put a jazzy twist on his “S.D.S.” single.
Apparently, rapping isn’t enough for the Pittsburgh MC, who recently added to his musical repertoire by producing under the moniker Larry Fisherman. While spitting “The Question,” Miller picked up a guitar and played a solo while dropping to his knees. For “Youforia,” he sat down and played the keys while singing. And at the end of “Frick Park Market,” Mac hit an impressive drum solo that he ended in true rock star fashion, throwing his sticks in the air.
It was a welcome twist for a rapper who spends so much time on the road. Chances are a large portion of the night’s concertgoers were repeat customers, so adding new wrinkles to old favorites was a smart move — and fans showed their appreciation, maybe none more than the young lady who threw her bra onstage when Mac sang the touching “Objects in the Mirror.”
Looks like Mac Miller is no longer a kid.