Although it’s been two years since Donald Glover effectively musically reinvented his Childish Gambino alter-ego with a transcendent, Grammy winning, critically lauded masterpiece of a third album, Awaken, My Love!, a soulful, psychedelic, adventurous and retro r&b departure from his more alternative hip hop earlier output, the record is still resonating hard with its extended cultural relevance and obvious path to modern masterpiece status.
Glover, too, has been enjoying nothing but increased celebrity, elevating from his cult acting, writing, and comedy background to achieve bona fide mainstream recognition, thanks to his position as star, creator, and creative force behind FX series Atlanta (frequently hailed as the best show on television right now), increasing movie roles, including that of iconic Star Wars character Lando in recent Han Solo prequel Solo, and the voice role of Simba in next year’s pseudo-live action Lion King remake, and a hosting gig at SNL earlier this year, among other ventures.
Something that initially began as a casual side project (even the name famously came from a Wu Tang name generator site) along with Community composer Ludovin (who’s not only stuck with Glover over the years, but has branched out to work on huge projects like Creed and Black Panther), Childish Gambino has been one of Glover’s longest artistic endeavors, and one that seems to have transcended its course and come to, at least in his mind, a natural stopping point, prompting the decision to retire the mantle in the near future, but not before embarking on the first proper post-Awaken tour and release another album.
That’s not to say Glover, despite how incredibly busy and in-demand he is these days, will be walking away from music- in all likelihood, he’ll continue under his own name or a new one. Still, with as enigmatic a figure he is, and one who clearly likes endings (he’s often deleted his internet presence, dropped from projects when he felt the time was right, and has strived to be transparent and true to his own sensibilities), there’s no guarantee you’ll get to see him play a full-on Childish Gambino show again anytime soon, or ever, after this upcoming run of dates and any that might be added.
That’s why tonight, Dec. 2 at Bridgestone Arena (originally rescheduled from October, after an injury forced Glover to postpone a run of dates) is, as far as we can tell, your likely final chance to see Childish Gambino in Nashville, along with exciting breakout rapper and artistic visionary Vince Staples in the opening spot. With a new album looming, likely to surprise release any day now (Gambino loves winter dates), and at the end of the year which saw him drop culturally resonant single and video “This Is America,” as well as a handful of other promising new tracks (and even more unreleased jams in his live set), there’s never been a more exciting time to see one of the most interesting artists in the world live.
Even if he returns someday under a different moniker, or with a different project, this evening marks Glover’s first headlining show in Nashville proper since a Cannery Ballroom outing in 2011, and with his packed creative slate across multiple mediums, we wouldn’t be surprised if a number of years pass once again before we see him in action. Needless to say, if you have any interest in this show, likely to be one of the last large-scale essential outings of 2018, grab tickets here (starting at a reasonable $35, and with a variety of sections still available), or regret it later.
Childish Gambino and Vince Staples will perform tonight, Dec. 2 at Bridgestone Arena. The show is all ages, begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are available to purchase for $35-125.