After Beyonce changed the game with her headlining performance last year, it was no wonder that Gambino wanted to give fans "an experience" that was "something special," he said early in his set. And there's no doubting he delivered.
"This is not a concert. This is church," Gambino proclaimed as he took the stage around 11:30 p.m., towering over fans on a raised structure in the middle of the audience.
During his 90-minute set, the GRAMMY winner tore through hits like "Feels Like Summer" and an especially dazzling rendition of "This Is America." He also performed older songs like "Sober" and "3005" to the delight of fans. The musician also debuted a new song, which was performed with an all-black choir.
Later, his show took a brief somber turn, when he paid tribute to musicians, Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed outside his store at the end of March, as well as his father, Donald Glover, Sr., who died late last year. “I lost my dad this year. We lost Nipsey, we lost Mac [Miller]," Gambino was heard saying.
Delivering his shirtless onstage antics alongside his profound and poignant tracks along with a shower of fireworks, Gambino aka Donald Glover managed to create another powerful moment at a festival known for such occasions.
In addition to his performance on stage, Gambino premiered his new film, Guava Island, on Thursday night before it became available to fans for a limited time on Amazon Prime on Saturday. Starring Gambino, Rihanna and Letitia Wright, the movie tells the story of a musician trying to put together a secret festival for the town.
Prior to his set, fellow show-stoppers like 1975, Diplo, DJ Snake, Janelle Monae, who shared a hug with Gambino while watching his performance, and more kicked off the first day of the three-day festival’s first weekend in style. Filling out the main stage in subsequent evenings are Tame Impala and Ariana Grande.