With the spectacle of the Waste Management Open comes some of music’s biggest names for the Birds Nest concert series. Friday saw the return of the Mack(lemore), along with Quinn XCII for an evening of beautiful weather and a crowd eager to keep the party going.
Quinn XCII is a frequent Arizona visitor and for good reason- the energy at his shows keeps the fans dancing, drinks in the air. Spotted in the crowd were plenty of smiles, but no one was grinning larger than Quinn and his band as they treated the event to a lengthy setlist of upbeat material. Between songs, there was plenty of interaction with the audience, many of whom arrived solely for the music without ever stepping foot on the green for the Open. Quinn XCII was the perfect opener for the night, clearing the way for the main event.
Macklemore has been conspicuously silent for the past few years, retreating into his newfound love of golf and his family but Friday was the comeback of the year for the Seattle rapper. Part serious lyricist, part campy antics, Macklemore is an artist whose music reached every demographic at the Birds Nest that evening. Frequent collaborator Eric Nally appeared on the big screen to kick things off with “Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight” and a set of unbridled fun.
Everyone and their mothers knew the words to “Thrift Shop”, the playful ode to the art of secondhand shopping that turns 10 this year and jumpstarted Macklemore’s rise to stardom. He added in more tracks from that year’s The Heist, including “Same Love”, backed by an incredible band and singers assisting on the guest spots and harmonies. Macklemore also waxed poetic about his pandemic golfing, chipping lemons into the audience and bringing up two ecstatic guys during “Willy Wonka”.
True to form, “Dance Off” inspired an actual dance battle between two handpicked members of the crowd and the infamous Raven Bowie once again threatened to streak across Arizona’s golf courses during “And We Danced”. If you haven’t guessed the theme of the evening, Macklemore made sure to remind everyone that the party for 2022 was just beginning. The drinks kept flowing even as the show came to a close with “Downtown” and “Glorious”, with Macklemore receiving his flowers after several long years away.
Check out the photos from a wild night at the Birds Nest!
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel