What A Wonderful Kind of Day: Chance’s Magnificent Coloring Day
On Saturday morning I woke up and hopped downstairs to the cafeteria for a delicious egg white omelet that was stuffed to the brim with bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, cheese, and bacon. My brunch was only the first of many incredible things to come that day, as I already had my ticket in my pocket for Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day. For the unfamiliar, it was a day long music festival at U.S. Cellular Field on Chicago’s south side. This was the first concert there in over 13 years and it had sold 44,000 tickets. It was certain to be a spectacular event.
I took the train to the stadium. I arrived early at around 11:45, and the doors opened at noon. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, I maneuvered my way through security lines and into the stadium. I walked around the concourse just to see what was going on that day, and eventually made my way to my seat (Section 141, Row 19, Seat 9, for the curious). After weeks of anticipation, I was finally there to see some of my favorite artists perform live. At one o’clock, as the hot sun beamed down and tanned my arms, Francis and the Lights came on stage. They announced their arrival by singing some songs off of their new album Farewell Starlite. Their set was full of groovy and vibey songs and concluded with my favorite song of theirs, Friends. I specifically wrote a little more about that song and its importance to me here: http://www.mycollegeadventures.com/2016/07/31/turn-around/ go check it out!.
Lil Uzi Vert came out next, albeit 30 minutes late, and immediately his presence was felt. Opening with his biggest hit Money Longer, Uzi Vert had the place going nuts. Before I had time to think, I found myself in the crowd of people who had rushed on top of the dugout to dance and rap alongside him. We were all eventually pulled down though, and he continued the rest of his set. Unfortunately for me, I haven’t heard much of his music, and while enjoyable, I found myself a little lost during his time on stage.
Young Thug, someone I was particularly excited about, was due on stage at any minute after Lil Uzi Vert finished due to the latter’s lateness, but the stage time came and passed. Thugga (aka Young Thug) was a no-show, much to my dismay. Luckily though, my day was saved by Tyler, The Creator. His presence rocked the stage, and he performed with an excess of energy. Tyler’s bright yellow animal print outfit filled the stage alone, and between jokes and loud abrasive music, his crazy personality took the festival to another level. At one point, he told everyone to either kneel or sit in their seats until the first verse of his song ended, when he then told us to “lose our f*****g minds” once the chorus hit. Even though I was disappointed by the lack of Young Thug, Tyler’s uniquely amazing set made me laugh and smile.
At this point, after rapping most of Tyler’s songs alongside him, I was out of breath and thirsty. I was headed up to the concourse to buy a water bottle when the intro to Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 started playing over the speakers. In the millisecond it took my brain to recognize the sound, I turned and sprinted to the nearest open area I could find to catch Kanye. As more and more people knew who was coming, the stadium roared to life. Some may have seen the twitter video (https://twitter.com/joearonson2/status/779797408565891076) of people rushing the field to see him. Well, somewhere in that crowd is me. Caught up in the mass hysteria and the excitement of seeing my favorite artist again, I leapt over the railing and joined the crowd. Kanye’s set, which featured hits from his Late Registration days as well as songs off The Life of Pablo, was jaw-dropping and being a part of the crowd that rapped every word alongside him was a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
As I made my way out of the field, I definitely needed a bottle of water, so I coughed up the absurd amount of money for one and then downed it all. John Legend and his uniquely buttery voice were on display next, and it was a much needed relaxation after the craziness that Tyler and Kanye invoked. Singing his way through his hits, I was enamored with the vocal talent that Legend produced live. I didn’t know a ton of songs by him but still enjoyed his time on stage nonetheless.
Following his voice, Collegrove made their way to the stage. Better known as their respective members, 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne, their presence alone shook the stadium. Cheering in honor of the rap legends when they were introduced, the crowd excitement was certainly measurable on seismic scales. Their set featured some of rap music’s biggest hits, and it was a party, even all the way back at my seat. For almost an hour and a half the massive crowd rapped, danced, and sang along with Chainz and Wayne, which was definitely a memorable time.
By that time, the sun had set and the coolness of the Chicago air started to fill in. Whether it was that or the next performer that caused my goosebumps, I’ll never know, but I’d certainly hedge my bets on it being her. In my opinion, the best vocal performance of the night went to Alicia Keys, who strutted around the stage in confidence and reached never-before-heard notes. Her song Empire State of Mind stands out especially in my mind; the crowd full of phone flashlights waving back and forth brought my dear friend and fellow blogger Jerry to my mind, as I know he had moved and settled in comfortably to New York. Her set concluded with Girl on Fire, a song that blew me away live, and she cleared the stage to tons of cheers and applause.
I sat anxiously in my seat, knowing who was up next. Small talk was made with my neighbors, John and Lily, about the NFL and the presidential debates. We could barely contain our excitement about the next performer: Chance the Rapper. Just after 9 pm, Chance rose up from the stage and was greeted to the warmest hometown welcome I’ve ever heard. The stadium that was packed to the brim vibrated from the combined cheers of his fans. A wonderful artist who has contributed dearly to the city from which he hails had made his way to the stage at his own festival. You can imagine the sound.
His set featured a bed, Chicago Children’s Choir, and puppets, a unique spin on his newest album Coloring Book, which frequently referenced childhood and the concept of growing up. In fact, the motif of finding yourself as you age was prevalent through his whole set. Chance spent his time on stage acting as though he was trying to remember a message someone once told him, and this paralleled his own maturation. Putting aside the imagery though, Chance’s fans loved him. He announced that the all-time attendance record at U.S. Cellular Field had been broken and again, the crowd roared. We all rapped along with him, whether it was songs from his senior year mixtape 10Day, Acid Rap, or the aforementioned Coloring Book. The sense of togetherness that was formed as over 40,000 people sang at the top of their lungs is unmatched, and Chance brought that experience to life.
Chance ended the night on a monologue: he told us to expect our blessings, that they were not here yet, and then he sang to us all as he left the stage. Fireworks proceeded to light up the night sky, exploding in a vibrant array of colors. The end of Chance’s set marked the end of my night, though. Sunburnt, tired, and with a dead phone in my pocket, I left before the Skrillex set. I made my way home, collapsed into bed, and chatted with my girlfriend for a bit before falling off to sleep.
All in all, it was an amazing day, and I certainly got my money’s worth after buying the ticket for only $45. I had seen some of my favorite artists and heard new songs from artists I never would’ve imagined seeing. It was most definitely a Magnificent Coloring Day, and I’m so glad I went. A massive thanks to Chance for putting on such a quality festival.
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