June 4, 2017


Governors Ball 2017: Childish Gambino Brings the Magical '70s Funk, Hints at Final Album

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Who would've ever thought the awkward, emotion-ridden guy from Community would soon become one of the biggest gifts in music we have today? Childish Gambino, a.k.a. Donald Glover, displayed some of the purest artistry during his headlining set at Governors Ball 2017.

In what he sadly announced will be his only show of the year, the triple-threat gave both diehard fans and intrigued festivalgoers a once-in-a-lifetime performance that transformed the grand event into an intimate oasis. Gambino confidently strutted onto the stage as the crowd erupted with excitement, as he kicked things off with an impassioned version of "Awaken, My Love" album opener "Me and Your Mama." From then on, his set exploded into a fusion of funk, dance, hip-hop, R&B, soul and a tinge of Glover's goofy charm.

Gambino gave Governors Ball different facets of his music personality, baring his soul through expressive and near-frightening eyes on "Boogieman" and getting wild on Because the Internet favorite "The Worst Guys." He also ran through "Worldstar," "Have Some Love" that evoked the '70s spirits deep within him, "The Palisades" that had him channeling his inner Michael Jackson and "Terrified" that was riddled with steamy sexual moans.

He continued to hopscotch between genres, lighting a blunt that someone threw onstage during "California" (how appropriate), going absolutely ham on "Sweatpants" and getting sticky-sweet romantic for "3005," "Sober" and his now-viral charming rendition of Tamia's "So Into You." But we can't forget about his backing band, who amplified the intensity of Gambino's set with '70s funk guitar riffs, maddening piano melodies and heart-pounding drums.

The best part of the performance occurred when the artist created his own hilarious house party scenario, having his DJ run through V.I.C.'s "Get Silly," Kanye West's "Can't Tell Me Nothing," Playboi Carti's trap anthem "Magnolia," Migos' "Handsome & Wealthy," Lil Wayne's "Mrs. Officer" and Rihanna's "Sex With Me." He then naturally wrapped things up with "the perfect song to make out to: the undeniable modern classic, "Redbone."

Throughout his set, Gambino dedicated "Baby Boy" to his son Legend (the first time he revealed his name) and also shockingly hinted that his next album could possibly be his last. While the revelation was a bit heartbreaking, it also makes sense. He is getting ready to promote July's Spider-Man: Homecoming and also has upcoming roles as Simba in the live-action Lion King remake as well as playing young Lando Calrissian in Star Wars' Han Solo origin movie and working on a Deadpool animated series and Season 2 of FX's Atlanta. Childish Gambino/Donald Glover is getting way too busy to focus on music at the moment, and it's a miracle that us attendees at Governors Ball got to witness that magic before it could become too late.

Stay tuned to all of Fuse's on-the-ground coverage from Governors Ball all weekend right here! Next up, watch this classic interview with a young Donald Glover below: