Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and more at Red Rocks, 2/1/13

Categories: Last Night

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All photos by Eric Gruneisen
Macklemore on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks 2013. Slide show: Winter on the Rocks 2013


MACKLEMORE @ RED ROCKS |2/1/13

Toward the last part of his set at Red Rocks, Macklemore got a little confessional. He shared with us how since he was in his early teens he's had no control over his consumption of drugs and alcohol, and he admitted to having spent many a day playing video games, getting fucked up, jacking off and taking naps -- not necessarily in that order. But then one day, he came to the realization that in order to do music for real and make something of himself he would have to get sober, and so in 2008, he did. However, a few years later after finally realizing some success on the road, he came home and, like many people, after such a real emotional and existential high sustained for weeks and months, he didn't really know what to do with himself or to handle normal reality, so he relapsed.

See also:
- Slide show: Winter on the Rocks 2013
- Review: Macklemore at the Ogden Theatre, 12/6/12
- Macklemore on what rap album he'd take with him on the mothership

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Macklemore on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre during Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks 2013. Slide show: Winter on the Rocks 2013

In doing so, he says, he felt like he would look like a hypocrite to friends, family and fans (none of which were mutually exclusive) for writing "Otherside." Also, he hadn't told anyone -- not his family, not Ryan Lewis, not anybody -- about his relapse at the time. The only therapy he knew was getting back to making music, and so he wrote and recorded "Starting Over." Maybe there was a bit of theater in the presentation, but when the song kicked in, it felt like it was coming from a very real place.

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre during Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks 2013. Slide show: Winter on the Rocks 2013

And that was the tone of the whole show, and Macklemore's material, generally. A heightened yet paradoxically grounded reality. The light show truly added to the feel of being in a special place and time. Sure, there was fog projected well into the sky, but that made it so that when columns of bright light were cast forth to create a kind of fan and nimbus of white light, it reached far above the stage and higher into the sky than any show I remember seeing at Red Rocks over many years. It was like a symbol of what Macklemore and Lewis were trying to achieve with their music -- an expansive and elevated spirit.

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Ryan Lewis on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre during Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks 2013. Slide show: Winter on the Rocks 2013

Brimming with passion and charged with a palpable charisma, Macklemore and Lewis played all the hits going back to the first song they wrote for The VS EP, "Life is Cinema." With three bright, one might even say brilliant, LED screens on stage displaying snippets of animated lyrics at times, there was constant motion on stage with plenty of movement and dancing in the crowd, as well.

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Macklemore on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre during Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks 2013. Slide show: Winter on the Rocks 2013

Before "Thrift Shop," Macklemore told us he came out to the show without his fur coat and someone in the audience apparently loaned him a brown, bear coat that he wore for the duration of the performance. Afterward he acknowledged that some people might think it was "fucked up" that he was wearing the fur of an animal. To which he pointed out that the animal was long dead and acquired at a thrift store, and that was it better being worn than sitting unused in a closet or hanging on the rack at a thrift store.

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre during Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks 2013. Slide show: Winter on the Rocks 2013

Close to mid-set Macklemore told us that earlier in the day someone asked him if he could play one song of his songs for the whole world, what would it be? Of course he said it was his song about equality and tolerance, "Same Love." A lot of people clearly knew the song, and later, Macklemore told us it was a beautiful thing to hear so many people singing along to the chorus of the song.

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Owuor Arunga on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre at Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks 2013. Slide show: Winter on the Rocks 2013

Before that performance came the refreshingly vulnerable "Otherside." Sure, by the time the show was closing out the temperature had dropped considerably, but Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Owuor Arunga on the horn and everyone else on stage gave as good as they got from an audience that showered them with love and enthusiasm.


Location Info

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Red Rocks Amphitheatre

18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, CO

Category: General


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