LOS ANGELES – Before Mac Miller died at age 26 of an apparent overdose on September 7, he was scheduled to play a show on Halloween at the Greek Theatre. On Wednesday night, a version of that show went on without him, in his honor.
The new concert, titled Mac Miller: A Celebration of Life, brought together Miller’s musician friends, with the proceeds going toward a charity formed in Miller’s honor, Mac Miller Circles Fund (MMCF).
So what’s the best way to pay tribute to a musician who was gone, suddenly, way too soon? Here’s how stars including John Mayer, Travis Scott, SZA and Chance the Rapper helped do it in a loving way.
Musicians played Miller’s songs and songs about him.
For example, Mayer played a cover of Miller’s “Small Worlds,” and even kept the late artist’s voice on part of the backing track.
Vince Staples performed his song with Miller, “Rain,” and Miller’s voice was heard rapping the lyrics.
Anderson .Paak drummed and sang “Dang!” – even though he knew it would “hurt” to play his song with Miller.
Miguel duetted with Miller’s disembodied voice on “Weekend.”
Ty Dolla $ign, who later jumped into the crowd and slammed an electric guitar, sang his Miller collaboration “Cinderella.”
Njomza sang a new tune that seemed to be about Miller, with lyrics that likely referenced his latest album “Swimming,” and included lyrics like “I call your name and hear no sound.”
ScHoolboy Q played “THat Part,” which, he says, was partially written when Miller was in the studio with him.
Videos showed Miller’s sense of humor.
Severalvideo montages had clips of Miller dancing goofy, joke-singing Creed songs, saying that his mom’s “shoe game is on point,” smiling and making everyone around him laugh.
Singers spoke lovingly.
Famous friends from Donald Glover to Jason Sudeikis paid tribute to Miller via video, but several singers also spoke onstage about the artist who had brought them together.
Chance the Rapper said after his set, choking up, “Mac, thank you for so many different things. Thank you for the music you made; thank you for the music that you provided other people with, for the opportunities that you provided me with, but overall, for the friendships that you built through your music and through your artistry.”
“Without Mac, there would be no me, like half of us (performing),” said SZA. “God bless you we love you so much. Mac.”
“Mac Miller, my brother, never took himself too seriously, ya know? One of the… funniest people I’ve ever met,” Anderson .Paak told the crowd. “He wasn’t afraid to be like, ‘Yo, you dope, too, come with me.”
There was no focus on drugs or a famous ex.
In some news reports about Miller’s passing, the late artist’s relationship status with Ariana Grande overshadowed his music career. In Los Angeles on Wednesday, there was no mention of the pop star, and also no attention given to Miller’s cause of death. Instead, the three-hour concert was all about how Miller, born Malcolm James McCormick, treated his friends and made his music.
Travis Scott, the evening’s final performer, described the event simply: “The key word to this whole thing is … ‘love.’ ” He added, “I just want everybody to stay strong. If you have a friend with you, you should always tell them you love them.”
Actually, Mac Miller was the final performer.
Before the stage lights went off, Miller performed in a video clip, accompanying himself on the piano. Then, his voice was heard singing “Best Day Ever” and telling the crowd goodbye and goodnight. A final spotlight shone on a lone mic stand. Then the stage lights went out.
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