Donald Glover has been making a killing in every aspect of life. After winning a Golden Globe for his FX hit Atlanta, delivering the soulful yet funky Awaken, My Love! album and becoming a father in the past year, the 33-year-old multi-hyphenate (he sings and raps under the name Childish Gambino, acts, writes, and tells jokes exceptionally well) added headliner at New York City’s Governors Ball Music Festival to his stacked résumé. “This is the only show I’m gonna do this year,” he said on Saturday night (June 3). “I’m gonna try and blow the sh-t off of this motherf–ker.”
Wearing an all-white outfit with a headwrap (he eventually went shirtless), Gambino glided and shimmied across the Honda stage like it was his living room. His live band and back-up singers complemented every riff and falsetto, which were major keys in the Funkadelic-inspired LP he dropped last December. “I tried to speak from my soul and sh-t but sometimes you just want to turn up,” said Gambino about his latest effort.
He often requested crowd participation, though attendees jumped and sang along to nearly every track at will. “I don’t want you to climax yet. I need this sh-t to be an 8. You want to go to a 10, do you but this needs to be an 8. When this sh-t goes off, feel free to jump the f–k around,” said Gambino before diving into “Zealots of Stockholm [Free Information]” off his Grammy-nominated album, 2013’s Because The Internet.
It was difficult not to body roll for other melodic offerings like the grown and sexy number “Terrified.” “This lil’ kid who sang this is going to play baby Simba,” Gambino also noted with pride, referencing his gig in Disney’s upcoming remake of The Lion King. He then switched up the vibe by performing the sunny track “California,” lighting a blunt and proclaiming, “I love good weed.”
Gambino’s love for his fans was greater, though, as he reflected on his come-up: “I just wanted to tell you guys personally how much I love every single one of you. The best parts of my show was when I first started doing them, I saw every type of person come to that show.” He recalled a 7-foot man with goth makeup who was wearing a dress, who hugged him and said, “Thank you for Camp.” Gambino continued, “It was like the sweetest, greatest feeling I’ve ever had. I just want to say you guys have stuck with me for forever and I love you for that. But right now I want to play a couple of songs I think you should know if you’re a true Gambino fan.” Because The Internet-era Gambino emerged with performances of “I. Crawl,” “IV. Sweatpants” and “3005.” He later performed a snippet of his beloved Tamia cover for “So Into You.”
While orchestrating the turn-up, the most tender moment came when Gambino shared the name of his son before performing “Baby Boy.” “This song is dedicated to everybody in this crowd and my young son, Legend,” said the singer, who rarely divulges about his private life.
For the finale, Gambino went into full Donald Glover mode and incorporated a sketch about a house party hook-up with a woman soundtracked by cuts like Lil Wayne’s “Mrs. Officer” and Rihanna’s “Sex With Me.” Once he reached the part in the story where the neighbors call the cops and the only option is to hide together in the bathroom with his lady, he cued up “the perfect song to make out to” — inspired by a Twitter meme — and performed the effortlessly sexy “Redbone.” Before leaving the stage, Gambino suggested that his next project could be his final, saying, “I’ll see you for the last Gambino album.”
See Childish Gambino’s Governors Ball set list below.
Me and Your Mama
The Worst Guys
Have Some Love
Zealots of Stockholm [Free Information]
So Into You (Tamia cover)