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

10 green ideas for New York City this…

This Earth Day, pundits share their ideas to better green New York City.

Local

Carriage horse activists picket Liam Neeson's UWS home

Several dozen picketers lined the sidewalk outside of Liam Neeson's Upper West Side apartment building on Saturday to protest the actor's support of the New…

Local

Former cop shoots wife in front of children…

Former cop Kevin Canty, 43, was arrested over the weekend after police say he shot and killed his wife in their Ozone Park home.

Local

Two young children killed in deadly Queens fire

Two 4-year-old children died after a blaze at their Far Rockaway home on Saturday night. The Queens fire injured three others, including a third sibling.

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Books

Poems from prison: 'How to Survive a Bullet…

Celebrate National Poetry Month with, "'How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart."

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.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.