Ariana Grande paid tribute to her late ex-boyfriend Mac Miller when she brought her “Sweetener” world tour to Pittsburgh — the rapper’s hometown — earlier this week.
On Wednesday, June 12, Us Weekly reported that the PPG Paints Arena in the Pennsylvania town was filled with some of Mac’s biggest hits before Ariana took the stage, and the sweet gesture certainly did not go unnoticed.
“Already at the Ariana Grande concert and heard Malcom playing,” one concertgoer tweeted last night before the show began. Another noted that the pop star also had a special seat at the venue reserved in Mac’s honor.
Mac Miller passed away in September of last year at the age of 26 from an accidental overdose. Grande and Miller dated for nearly two years before calling it quits last May, just before the rapper’s passing, and being in his hometown was no doubt emotional for the pop star.
Ari opened her show last night with “Raindrops (An Angel Cried),” which many believe is about the end of her relationship with Miller. According to Us Weekly, the singer began crying as she sang the song and was ultimately unable to finish its performance.
She choked up again at the end of the show while singing her hit single “Thank U, Next.” The track includes the lyrics “Wish I could say ‘thank you’ to Malcom/ ‘Cause he was an angel,” though when she got to that part in the song, Ariana was unable to get the words out. Instead, the audience chimed in to belt out the tune, while also cheering and applauding loudly to show their support.
Ariana Grande performed in Mac Miller's hometown last night and there wasn't a dry eye in the place when she broke down. https://t.co/CotQN0xTFz— E! News (@enews) June 13, 2019
She's so f'ing grateful for her ex: Ariana Grande performed in Mac Miller's hometown and she honored him by playing his music before the show and reserving a seat for him...It wasn't easy for her, but she made it through the show despite breaking down several times. ???? pic.twitter.com/db5lWAzeVR— E! News (@enews) June 13, 2019
Ariana’s Pittsburgh concert was also held on the same day that Miller’s first posthumous track was released. As CNN reported, the rapper was featured in the tune “Time” by the R&B group Free Nationals.
Ariana and Mac began dating in 2016 after years of speculation, especially after they collaborated on their 2013 hit “The Way.” In the tune’s music video, the pair are seen being flirty with each other and eventually share a kiss, which Billboard noted added some serious fuel to the relationship rumors surrounding the musicians.
Both Mac and Ariana denied that their relationship was anything beyond friendship in the months following the release of their single, though that changed in 2016. The pair were seen getting cozy during the MTV VMA Awards in August of that year, and their romance became Instagram-official shortly after in September.