This weekend I went to California for the Childish Gambino experience known as “Pharos”. I had no clue what this was gonna be, but being a big fan of CG, I had to go. Some people wanted me to share my experience so here goes.
I went but I can’t say that I really enjoyed it for the effort that was put in. The ticket was $99 and then I got a ticket to Orange County. And the concert was in Joshua Tree, a pretty secluded camping area that was 2 hours out.
We went and we were led into a giant domed room with a few hundred other fans. We waited in line and prayed that this wasn’t some cult experience in disguise. As we get inside they lock our phones in magnetically locked pouches. They waited for most everyone to come in and then they start.
The dome lights up and has these Dreamworks looking animations playing of these spirits and skeletons dancing. And Gambino comes out in some tribal garb (face and body paint as well as some dreads), but it’s hard to see him as his stage isn’t very high up.
a cell phone pic by attendee @ahrceejr on Instagram
The concert lasts an hour and I’m honestly disappointed. It was a ton of singing that I wasn’t fortunate enough to really see or understand. It sounded very good though. However it wasn’t what I wanted or expected to be real.
I was disappointed for a few reasons though: it was only an hour, the animations didn’t really do much, the camp environment wasn’t really utilized, and even though the music was good it definitely wasn’t what I was hoping for. In a way I feel sorta tricked. Like the name Childish Gambino was used to bring out fans for this event, but it didn’t feel like it was a Gambino thing.
I want to embrace the evolutions that an artist will go through, but I can’t help but lament at times when the artist “loses” what I loved about him. I’m proud of Donald for what he does and what he has done and I’ll continue to support him (Atlanta anyone?). However I wouldn’t have made such a trip for an (IMO) ok concert. It reminds me of the disappointment I had for seeing Amazing Spider-Man 1 at the midnight showing, where you hype it up but it doesn’t live up and it becomes the (IMO) worst incarnation of the franchise/entity that you love. Yes I liked the mid-2000’s Spider-Man movies more.
a commemorative #Pharos T-Shirt
But this is a conversation I’d like to have whether I’m complaining unfairly or on the money.
I am happy though that my friend EJ was so accommodating a host that I truly enjoyed my time there. The food, the spots, and the time we hung out together were very good times that made the trip worth it for me.