“a giant goofy anthropomorphic lion Muppet named Carlos popped out of the stage and began talking”
If you don’t know who Chance the Rapper is right now, where have you been? The Chicago MC took the rap world by force four years ago with his second mixtape Acid Rap, which was extremely well-received by critics and fans, and led to a swath of high-profile collaborations and late night TV appearances. His meteoric rise has been particularly fascinating since he has never sold a single album. You read that right, this man doesn’t even have a record deal.
Earlier this year Chance the Rapper released the hotly anticipated Colouring Book, and while the free-to-download aspect of his career didn’t change, the subject matter of his music absolutely did. This release was heavily gospel-inspired with themes that touched on family, spirituality, newfound fatherhood, and friendship. The tape was a massive step in a mature direction, but also alienated those who gravitated toward his older sound.
I had seen Chance on his first tour and thought he was an amazing showman, exhibiting great potential to become massive. So when the “Magnificent Colouring World Tour” was announced, I knew I had to be there. Unfortunately, I bought tickets before I registered for school, and the concert landed on the same night as a midterm. That night, I was feeling pretty bummed out after my midterm. I had no idea how I did, as every question felt like a trick. I came very close to just going to bed afterwards, but was convinced by my friend to at least check out what we could of the show.
We arrived halfway through Chance’s set, and took our seats just as “Smoke Break” came to an end. I’d heard that this tour was designed as a theatrical experience, and wouldn’t you know it, as soon as the song ended, a giant goofy anthropomorphic lion Muppet named Carlos popped out of the stage and began talking to Chance. The narrative of the show from the point I arrived had three distinct themes, with each bit of acting setting up a group of songs relevant to that theme, with the overall arc of Chance trying to find his path.
“There was a tangible vibe of positivity in the air that night.”
This show absolutely blew me away. The last time I saw Chance, he was an amazing performer, yet he somehow managed to get even better. He delivered every bar, hit every note, with such an infectious passion that I couldn’t help but be elevated by him. There was a tangible vibe of positivity in the air that night, especially as the narrative culminated in the final theme: gratitude. Chance is such a genuine performer that nothing that happened on stage ever seemed corny or preachy, an amazing feat considering the menagerie of puppets.
I can’t adequately express how much this show turned my night around. There is something so inspiring about watching someone perform at the peak of their ability and being truly grateful for people being there to support them. In retrospect, Drake seemed like a politician compared to Chance. I left the stadium that night on an Ultra Light Beam, thanks to Chance and the greatest after school special I’ve ever witnessed.