1. Childish Gambino—aka 30 Rock writer and Community actor Donald Glover—has brought a four-piece band and a DJ with him for tonight’s Cosmo show. He steps onstage in a black T-shirt with the word “Fad” in big letters. Who, you? Nawwww.
2. The 2,000-plus-strong crowd is hanging on Gambino’s every word. Not only do they appreciate his wit-hop lyrics, they know them by heart. And it’s one of the most diverse crowds I’ve seen at a Cosmo show: out-of-towners, UNLV students, 20-somethings in thick-rimmed glasses and cool parents with even cooler kids. In the elevator, a woman talks about bringing her daughter to the show. “I think he’s some kind of actor …”
3. One track opens with a violin solo. On another, the whole band picks up sticks, drumming us into a frenzy. Then Gambino is singing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” By the time he breaks into “Heartbeat,” even security is dancing.
4. Chants of “Gam-bi-no! Gam-bi-no!” bring him back for an encore. “You guys are beautiful. This is f*cking dope,” he says. And he’s right. The weather is amazing; the crowd is bouncing; and then, as if things could get any better, the pool suddenly smells like bacon. Perfection.
5. Shirtless and jumping, Gambino closes with “Lights Turned On,” a testosterone-filled flirt fest of a rap. If we were expecting any of Troy Barnes’ lovable quirkiness tonight, it’s not here. This is Gambino, and the kid’s all grown up.