It was a cool October night, but things were heating up in downtown Ann Arbor. Lines formed around Hill Auditorium, as vagabond rockstar Mac DeMarco was set to transform the venue into his personal Shangri-La for the night.
Hill Auditorium is famously known for its fantastic acoustics, and they would be on full display tonight as Mac had no behind him, just a microphone and his acoustic guitar.
The excitement was palpable upon my arrival to Hill. As I walked through the doors, the auditoriums grandeur was spectacular. Gold plating wrapped around arches of lights in the ceiling, the seats, each individually ornate, covered in velvet, the organ pipes behind the stage seemingly reaching endlessly towards the sky. The allure of hill rivals that of some of the best auditoriums in the world.
The opening act was a local artist named Rello, and he was accompanied by a guitarist and a keyboardist. Oddly enough I worked with the guitarist over the summer and my date worked under Rello himself. His music hardcore vibed. He was an R&B singer with a gorgeous tenor voice. His set lasted about half an hour and primed the audience perfectly for the main event.
After Rello & Co. left the stage, you could hear the thunder clashing and the heavens roaring as Mac DeMarco stepped on. His witty banter and humbleness was awesome, but everyone was ready for him to strap up his guitar and play. He opened the set with “Salad Days” and any question as to if the sound would lack without an entire band were instantly dismissed. Acoustic Mac was somehow more chill and vibey than regular Mac. However, there were parts of the set he was unable to cover without his other guitarist. When Mac played “Ode to Viceroy” he asked the crowd if they could sing the guitar line in the chorus. We gladly complied.
The environment of the crowd when the entire venue was singing the same guitar part was unreal, the power of music when it brings people together never ceases to amaze. As a true performer knows to do, Mac saved his best for last. He had ended his set with “Together” and left the stage, but the whole crowd new that, eventually, Mac would be back.
The lights went up in the theatre, but no one was leaving. Then Mac went and poked his head out on stage one more time. The entire venue went crazy, even more nuts than at the initial conclusion of the set. So Mac did what he had to do. He waltzed back on stage with his guitar and strummed some chords while getting the entire audience to sing along to a melody. Once the entire audience was singing he told the people in the front to get in real tight and removed his guitar. In a blink of an eye Mac leaped from the stage into the arms of the fans in the front few rows. Instantly the entire crowd rushes to the stage and Mac crowd surfs all the way to the back of the auditorium. He proceeded to walk back on stage and sing one final chorus of “Together” and exited. The shroud fell over Hill and it returned to its normal state of being, with an entire audience going home 100% satisfied.