Thursday, Decmber 15, 2011
Written by Rich Miller, talent network news staff
Mac Miller’s Blue Slide Park Tour concluded this weekend at the North Shore’s Stage AE in front of a packed house anticipating the return of Pittsburgh’s new face on the hip-hop scene, and he did not disappoint. Miller brought tons of energy put on a great show for the crowd, and his excitement for this show somehow over matched the collective excitement of the nearly 3,000 in attendance. I was backstage for the show and actually was one of the first people Mac saw before he took the stage. He was clearly overwhelmed with emotion when he invited me and several other people standing in the hallway on stage for Donald Trump during the encore. This is what makes Mac cool. Not because he invited guys on stage, every rapper does that. In fact to quote my younger brother Timmy who was with me, “Clearly the more people you have dancing behind you, the better you are as a rapper, and even if you suck you still have the people.” But because I was a tall white guy wearing a North Face who would have stuck out like Lindsay Lohan in church. I respectfully declined telling him he would have to go on without me.
I wanted to make this a real professional write up, but it would be a total injustice to the type of night it was. At one point I was standing in VIP next to Wiz Khalifa’s mother and Sally Wiggin. Sally is a very social person to say the least. Although she may have had a contact high, this would be totally justifiable given the circumstances. Sally actually wasn’t looking bad for a woman of her age…yeah I know I must have been high too. There were all sorts of local and upcoming rappers roaming around, and various other local celebrities. It was sort of like a house party meets a family reunion. Mac had plenty of support from the 412.
The opening act was a local group called “The Come Up”. I had never heard of them before, but they were good. They had a few catchy songs, but what I liked was the originality, it didn’t sound like generic rap, which is the first step in me liking you. Next up was Casey Veggies from Los Angeles. I had some problems with his act, most notably his name being Casey Veggies. I’m not sure how you can expect to be taken seriously as a rapper if your name is reminiscent of any type of edible platter, but Veggies is giving it his best shot. I would have given him a pass on his name if his music weren’t reminiscent of Casey Anthony. And by that I do not mean he killed it. I mean I’d literally rather listen to Casey Anthony rap.
Finally, Mac and his people made their way to the stage. Timmy and I followed as if we were a part of it. It was kind of/not really/somewhat like something out of “Almost Famous”, but this article is kind of/not really/somewhat like something out of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. Take a deep breath, think about it, ok, now keep reading. He started the show with a few of his early You Tube hits; the opener was the song “Best Day Ever”. He went on the perform “Spins”, “Nike’s On My Feet”, “Kool-Aid and Frozen Pizza”, “Senior Skip Day”, and “Knock-Knock”. He then grabbed an electric guitar and jammed some classic hits by Biz Markie and Sublime, showing off some real skills while playing it behind his head. Mac then went into songs off of Blue Slide Park including my favorites “Under the Weather”, “Man in the Hat”, and the title track from the album.
He then of course finished with “Donald Trump”, one the songs credited with projecting him into the mainstream. He already had a lot of people behind him, so I kept to my word and watched from the side of the stage. The show ended and honestly was just as good as I expected it to be, but it was what happened after the show that really impressed me. I learned earlier on that the night before he had donated $50,000 to Make-A-Wish in the middle of his show. Once again outside of his dressing room after the show I overheard a parent of one the guys on his team talking about this, and how his goal is to make a difference for kids and other less fortunate people. Also about some of their future plans with charity and giving back. I asked if it was something new he was trying to use his celebrity for, or something that he had in mind from the beginning. He said it was always a goal of Mac’s to make a positive change in the word. As this conversation was ending Mac emerged from his dressing room cheesing like the cheeky bastard he is. He slapped hands and chatted briefly with a few people as he passed through their ongoing…safety meetings. A few people wanted to talk music and doing projects together, it really was like how many rappers portray it in their songs, random musicians waiting around after a show to ask for help getting to the next level. He politely brushed them off to make his way to a family and some little kids to sign autographs. It was another classy move by a classy guy.
We hung out and chatted around for a while before Timmy and I suddenly got the inclination to go to Eat 'n Park. Maybe we were influenced by the joy we saw in Mac getting back to his roots. Maybe we were influenced by the magic in the air…from the safety meetings. Either way we felt like a breakfast smile was a fitting end to the night full of hip-hop and Sally Wiggin. I don’t think anyone would argue with that.