Magnificent Coloring Day: A Recap

Chance the Rapper colored the South Side of Chicago with music on Saturday. His Magnificent Coloring Day music festival was a celebration of Chicago’s South Side, aiming to bring happiness and hope through music.

With a sold-out show, Chance the Rapper broke the record for attendance in the U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. The lineup included Francis and the Lights, Lil Uzi Vert, Tyler the Creator, John Legend, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Alicia Keys and some VERY special guests.

I arrived at the venue at 2pm, just in time to see Lil Uzi Vert. After his short set, there was a 45 minute block where Young Thug was supposed to perform (but failed to show up…perhaps because he’ll be performing at Northwestern next weekend and must abide by the Radius Clause).

When Tyler the Creator came on stage with his bright yellow outfit, the audio became shoddy towards the end of his set…which to be honest was just him complaining about how tickets were sold of seats behind the stage where concert-goers couldn’t see anything.

My guess to why the sound quality of Tyler’s set was so shoddy (it cut out at the drop of “Tamale”…yeah…awkward) was because soon after Tyler the Creator left the stage, KANYE WEST took the stage. At this point in time, I had left the field in search of some chicken tenders in the concession stands. All of a sudden, everyone started screaming bloody murder and when I ran back into the arena, there Yeezus was in all his glory singing “Father Stretch My Hands.”

Kanye performed 10 songs, ranging from his old school “Touch the Sky” to rapping “Ultralight Beam” with Chance the Rapper, who joined Ye on stage. I was shaking, screaming and singing along the whole time. It was a surreal experience. People in the stands were punching each other trying to jump over the fence into the field and security was running around the perimeters trying to tackle down fans that rushed the stage. It was pure and absolute chaos, just like the end of Ye’s song “All Day”.

When Kanye and Chance left the stage, walking side by side into the darkness of the backdrop, it wasn’t even 6pm. The sun was still shining and it hadn’t even been halfway through the festival.

John Legend graced our presence with his perpetually dimpled smile and buttery voice. It was the perfect recovery set after Kanye’s appearance: Legend tickled melted the hearts of every man, woman and child in the venue. In his very last song, he brought out a special guest and Chicago native: Common. The duo performed “Glory” from the Selma soundtrack, with fists up in the air.

I should also mention that AAHH! Fest, a music festival put on by Common, was happening at the same time as MCD.  But no hard feelings: just as Common made an appearance at MCD, Chance performed a few songs for the crowd at AAHH! Fest in Union Park.

Things picked up when 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne got on stage. I admit I had no idea who or what ‘Collegrove’ was when I read it in the schedule, but I found out it’s actually the name of the duo that 2 Chainz and Weezy put together…whoops. They each performed their own songs and then a few together as Collegrove. By the end of their set, night had set in and the stadium lights turned on…We still have three artists left on the program.

Alicia Keys, who was the only female performer of the day, became everyone’s girl crush with her fresh, makeup-less face and her kickass army-green, illuminati-encrusted jumpsuit. The extended intro to her hit “Fallin’” was as majestic and raw as you’d imagine…she was just roaring into the mic. Given the crazy talent that surprised the show thus far, I expected Usher to come on stage to sing “My Boo” with Alicia Keys for some throwback vibes…but it didn’t happen.

But finally, the man who put together this magnificent day came on stage. Chance opened up his set with “Angels” and the rest of the set was a mix of snippets of songs from his first two mixtapes and his newest album, Coloring Book. The set flowed by intermittent skits incorporating muppets-type puppets. During the set, Chance cut off the intro to “Favorite Song” and left the stage for about five minutes. During this awkward gap I was so certain that Childish Gambino would walk out on stage to perform it with Chance. Once again, wishful thinking. Maybe Chance just had to use the bathroom.

The whole set was a beautiful moment for Chance and the people of his city. It was the accumulation of pain, grieving and life’s simple blessings that permeates the lives of many South Side citizens. As an outsider from Evanston, I couldn’t relate to the experiences Chance rapped about, but as an appreciator of his music, I felt Chano’s South Side audience empathizing with him, and it was a powerful experience for me just to witness that.

Chance finished his set by saying his blessings are not in this show, album or flesh. His blessings are coming.

*Skrillex was the final act but the venue was basically empty because most of the concertgoers were rap fans (like myself) and did not know how to react to EDM and were confused by why he performed after Chance and by why he was even on the setlist at all.