Ten minutes before Mac Miller was due on stage last night [Wednesday, December 17] at Terminal 5, cheers of “We want Mac” from the sold-out crowd echoed throughout the building’s multiple balconies and jam-packed showroom. For a rainy Wednesday night, New York City was awake and hungry.

The warning signs at the ticketing booth alerting those in attendance that “strobe lights will be used during the performance” weren’t misguiding, as Mac appeared on stage in a fury of flashing, blinding light. The stage set-up was simple, with two pyramids that each had Mac’s face from his GO:OD AM album cover and a slew of LED’s, with DJ Clockwork’s turntable set-up sandwiched in between, with flashing letters “GO:OD AM,” written in the digital clock promptly displayed.

Donning a Mighty Ducks jersey, Mac set the tone for the night diving right into “Loud” off of 2011’s Blue Slide Park. Introducing himself to the audience, alongside setting the intention of the night, his words were simple: “I’m here to rap.”

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“I have two single ass rules to my shows,” Mac told the audience. “If at any point in the night I say, ‘One band,’ you say ‘one sound.’ If at any point in the night I say, ‘I changed,’ you say ‘a lot.’ That’s it. It’s going to be a good f*cking night.” He went on to thank everyone that blessed the stage before him—Cousin Stizz, The Come Up Boys, Michael Christmas and EarthGang—who all helped set the energy high for a crowd with tunnel vision on seeing Mac perform.

The ‘I changed, a lot’ element to Mac as a performer truly says it all. The 23-year-old rapper was often deemed ‘frat house rap’ in the beginning of his career, but with his GO:OD AM debut on Warner Music (released September 18 this year), Mac has shown growth as an artist tremendously—most notably talking about sobering up changing his perspective on life and approach to music. With personal lyrics such as, “Ain’t saying that I’m sober, I’m just in a better place,” the performer keeps it real and has attracted new listeners by doing so, with the help of being signed to a major not hurting either.

The bittersweet component to last night’s performance was that at times, the thunderous bass or Mac’s new hypeman, InnerViewQ, drowned out Mac’s voice. The a capella moments where Mac was alone in the spotlight were some of the more favorable ones, with his voice booming and commanding the attention of the crowd. A common theme throughout the night was the audience filling in vocally, universally singing along with excitement as the DJ cut the music out.

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The energy Mac has as a performer is incredible, especially considering last night was one of the last stops on his 55-show tour run promoting his latest album. For just over an hour, Mac went hard and made it seem easy, performing a generous chunk off of GO:OD AM, including “Doors,” “100 Grandkids,” “ROS,” “Weekend,” “Clubhouse” and “Break The Law,” as well as dedicating a track from earlier in his career, “Nikes On My Feet,” to his “day one’s.” Performance wise, Mac is a beast, taking a mere 10-second break to ask for another Jameson and giving the audience song after song, without skipping a beat or tripping over a single word.

Mac also had to take a moment to remind the crowd, “I will not be voting for Donald Trump this year,” just a day after going in on Twitter, causing a viral reaction to his comments regarding the scary possibility Trump could be president. Mac also brought up his 2011 song named after Trump, saying next time he’s naming a song after his DJ, hoping Clockwork will run for president as a result.

Just while things were relatively normal for a Mac Miller show, with nothing crazy or out of the norm save for a fog machine gun, Mac concluded his set like a rap veteran, thanking the crowd and running off stage. Moments later, Miller reappeared for a highly-demanded encore, but this time with special guest Ja Rule. Ja played his timeless classic “Living It Up” much to the delight of fans, with Mac reading the audience’s minds saying, “If you had told 15-year-old me, that this was going to happen, I would have sh*t my pants.”

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All photos by Fabian Pacheco