Robin Thicke and Macklemore take Manhattan at pre-VMA concert

 

Robin Thicke performs at the MTV/Lifebeat concert Friday night at Terminal 5 in Manhattan.
Robin Thicke performs at the MTV/Lifebeat concert Friday night at Terminal 5 in Manhattan.
Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

New York got a taste of what’s to come at the MTV Video Music Awards at an intimate Friday night concert featuring two of the summer’s biggest names.

The awards show will be broadcast Sunday live from Brooklyn for the first time, and to promote the event MTV teamed up with Time Warner Cable and Lifebeat, an HIV/AIDS education organization, for Friday’s concert at Terminal 5.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis kicked off the evening with “Ten Thousand Hours,” the first track from their new album “The Heist,” managing to turn a song about the struggles of achievement into a love letter to the audience.

Not used to a largely female audience by his own admission, Macklemore took a moment to appreciate how “sexy and mature” the crowd was — presumably because we were Robin Thicke fans, he said (Macklemore had been an unnamed “special guest” to the headliner leading up to the show.) He parlaid his admiration of the crowd’s fashion sense (“New York women are the best dressed” and “You know it’s official with a burgundy bowtie”) into his megahit “Thrift Shop.” Happily, the song loses none of its jaunty charm for not being sung in the aisles of a secondhand store.

Before the equality anthem “Same Love,” for which he was joined by Mary Lambert, Macklemore shifted into his real-life persona, Ben Haggerty, for a short but impassioned speech about gay rights: “I believe in tolerance, I believe in compassion, I believe in love.”

Speaking of love, Macklemore proposed keeping the party going for anyone who wanted to join him in his Cadillac after the show. No word on where one can get a Cadillac big enough to accommodate the number of people who cheered his offer.

For his closing number, Macklemore let himself get literally carried away, climbing onto the audience’s hands during the bridge of “Can’t Hold Us.”

Headliner Robin Thicke didn’t keep the crowd waiting for what is arguably the song of the summer (sorry, Daft Punk), coming onstage in his now-trademark three-piece suit and sunglasses with a golden microphone for “Blurred Lines.”

Thicke and his surprisingly resilient pompadour performed eight songs, two seated at a piano including “Pretty Little Heart.” Just as it seemed like he’d end with the crowd-pleasing “Shakin’ It for Daddy,” the first strains of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” brought the evening to a heartfelt singalong close.

Despite being very much the men of the moment in the music world, neither performer kept any ironic distance between them and the audience. “I’ve watched the VMAs my whole life — on my parents’ couch,” Macklemore told the crowd. Thicke, meanwhile, mentioned that “Blurred Lines” was his first No. 1 hit in 20 years of making music, “so I’m living proof that don’t ever give up on your dreams.” They seemed just as thrilled to be invited to the show as anyone else there.

Catch both performers and many more on the VMAs, broadcast live from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center beginning at 9 p.m. Sunday on MTV.

Macklemore jumps into the crowd during "Can't Hold Us" during Friday's MTV/Lifebeat concert at Terminal 5 in Manhattan. Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Macklemore jumps into the crowd during “Can’t Hold Us” during Friday’s MTV/Lifebeat concert at Terminal 5 in Manhattan.
Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.