Photo: @_kelbridge Childish Gambino
New ‘Bino tour & Pharos 2.0??
By: Sean Pryor - 03.25.18

I'm so excited to announce that Childish Gambino will be going on tour! Since his 2016 album, "Awaken, my Love!", Donald Glover has been in a whirlwind of activity. From filming Han Solo, a remake of Lion King, and finishing the second season of Atlanta; we havn't had a chance to hear much from the faved alter ego, Childish.

But come September 6th, Childish Gambino will be kicking off a huge tour across 13 cities. He will be accompanied by hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd. The real question is, will the tour be a reflection of his last musical experiment, Pharos, or will it be something new altogether? With the addition of Rae Sremmurd, and his recent EP re-release of his 2011 work, I think fans can expect, a lot of his popular pre-2016 songs. But how much of the Pharos influence we see, is probably anyone's guess. Gambino is a man of surprises. He never seems to settle on just hashing out what has been done before. He always seems to be searching for that moment of new, that thing that makes him feel alive. And that's probably why I love him. But what even happened at Pharos? The mysterious event that took place in the middle of a desert, and caused Reddit users to go crazy in anticipation, trying to unravel the mysterious clues he left leading up to the event.

~ My personal account from the mysterious Pharos show on Sept. 3 2016 ~

We showed up Saturday night around 8pm. The event is in Joshua Tree (one of my hands down personal favorite national parks) so we are camping out in the desert; the first thing we are told is not to leave the paths because of scorpions. The show didn’t start until midnight, so we set up the tent and go exploring. For a single show ‘Bino had built an entire festival ground; Food trucks, lighting for the paths, etc. The works. People are super friendly, but no one has a clue what is going on. But there is a screening of Glover's new show Atlanta being projected onto a giant screen, which is already looking to be a great series, and helping to tide everyone over. And then there is a surreal big white dome in the middle of it all.

Update: Atlanta has grown to be an amazing show, and definitely worth a watch!

Come midnight, we walk to the dome. We have to put our phones and keys in these Yondr pouches, and then they magnetically lock them up so that no one has access to their phones inside for the whole show. This seems to be new to the music scene, and I expect to see a lot more of it in future shows. As artist's begin to express their own opinion on the use of cell phones during shows. There is definitely two sides to the argument here, with purists who believe that phones do nothing but distract from the moment. And I personally do see a lot of truth to that idea, which is why I try to not use my phone during a show, so I can be in MY moment. But forcing someone else to be held to my own opinions? This is where I begin to find myself at odds with the purist notion. Other people around me should have the right to experience the show how they see fit. But then again, this isn't your typical show, and if an artist has been this much of their soul into the event, maybe we should stop and listen to what they are sharing. So, while I think there is a place for Yondr at intimate events like this, my fear is when this is adopted at large scale for the next sold-out arena.

Glover's viewpoint:
"I wanted to give people an experience. I think telling people to put their phones away really forces a person to be present."

We walk through the revolving doors, each manned by a worker who was spinning them to let us inside. As we enter the dome, we enter a new reality. Stars were being projected onto the darkened ceiling, very reminiscent of the old StarDomes from elementary school. This actually added a bit of a nostalgic feel to the experience, bringing me back to the days of childhood when the world was so wonderous and new. Slowly, people circle in around the front of the dome and then other artists begin to come out on stage (a couple guitarists, a choir, a keyboardist). They move in slowly, setting the stage. The crowd begins to buzz with curiousity and excitement. This is not looking to be the hiphop show they were expecting. But what is it? At this point, while you are in the middle of trying to figure what to expect, Childish Gambino comes out. He is wearing these grass pink and yellow shorts with no shirt, but he has three foot-long braids and his body is covered in glow-in-the-dark tribal paint.

He takes a long drawn out drink from a giant bowl, like a shaman about to take you on a journey through your mind.

The show itself begins. If you've already had a chance to listen to his latest album, then you already know the music was not what fans expected. He did all new music, but none of it was rapping. It was as if he was a completely different artist. The event opened with crazy long solos from each of the extremely skilled instrumentalists. Childish began singing during debuting his new music, much of it with a more psychedelic feel to it. At one point he started screaming into the microphone in different ways, sometimes as loud as he could sometimes in muffled tones. He began asking the crowd if we felt alive, and he would stop to look around but it really didn’t seem like he was looking at us, just looking through us. Honestly, some of the vocals for a couple songs were actually hard to hear, but that didn’t really seem to detract from anything because at this point we were just wrapped up in the whole experience. The actual music had an alternative rock/psychedelic feel to some songs, a very choir/kanye feeling to others, and then almost a tropical reggae inspiration to a few more. But all of them were really embellished by the drums, percussion, guitar, and the choir.

Throughout the show he kept projecting different images around us - at one point it started raining and flooding, next meteors appeared, and suddenly everything turns into an intese acid trip! It was as if Gambino had literally created a physical structure of his mind, and then invited us inside. It was the closest I've felt being in someone's head, seeing the world through their eyes, and watching their thoughts parade around me. We began flying through space, with planets flashing by faster and faster before finally looking like light speed and landed at a big grouping of planets. Two hours later, the whole thing ends and the performers walk off stage without saying a thing. A robot voice comes on: “Thank you for attending Pharos, please exit through the revolving doors.” Then you leave and walk back out into the desert.

~ Fin ~

Didn't get a chance to see Pharos? Well, you are getting a second chance if you don't mind flying to an undiscolsed New Zealand location. Glover will be bringing the Pharos event to a new setting, and it looks like fans can expect a bit of the Joshua Tree experience, but also something possibly totally new - Gambino has announced that he will be releasing new music at this second Pharos event! I would expect nothing less from Gambino.

“Pharos is meant to be a communal space — a place that evolves and reacts to the culture,” Glover said via e-mail. “We aren’t tied to a format and that lets us adapt in a way that others can’t. We’re selling real intimacy. We protect the experience and it becomes something you genuinely share with the people around you and you take away something special. We’re looking at expanding the world in 2018 — there will be more artists involved.”

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