By Mark Braboy
In the warm, wee hours of Thursday night, before the supposed release of Chance The Rapper’s new “Owbum”, The Big Day, Chicago’s lush and colorful Garfield Park Conservatory was filled to the brim with friends, family, and his most dedicated supporters as he treated the city to an intimate and sentimental performance in celebration with Spotify, Chance’s Big Day.
“I’m so glad that you all are here because I want you all to know that I did this for you. As long as our relationship stays mutual, this can go on forever,” Chance said to the attentive audience as he sat in a small chair before them. “I can’t wait for you guys to hear this music. It’s really, truly me in every sense of the word. It’s exactly how I feel, it’s how I feel about my friends, it’s how I feel about my wife, it’s how I feel about my daughters, it’s how I feel about my God. It’s really, really me.”
Among the evening’s backdrop of vibrant, green fauna and drinks inspired by Chance’s mixtape discography, was a mix of day one Chano fans, friends, and longtime industry supporters such as Fake Shore Drive owner and founder Andrew Barber and Lyrical Lemonade owner-director Cole Bennett. Guests continued to enjoy the beautiful plants, parlay, and mingle until the show’s start time of 10:30 p.m.
While everyone was greeted with a solid set from DJ Vic Lloyd, the wait for Chance's set was longer than anticipated as attendees were left standing for over an hour. But, by the time Donnie Trumpet, Nico Segal, and the rest of The Social Experiment arrived, the ravenous crowd poured all their love and enthusiasm towards the stage, awaiting the city’s proverbial knight in shining armor. And sure enough, Chance burst out, kicking things off with his 2019 single “Groceries”, followed by a spirited performance of “Summer Friends.”
The South Side native gave fans a 40-minute, 10-song performance that one would have assumed to be loaded with a handful of brand-new material from The Big Day. Instead, he gave a medley of fan favorites and classic singles from 10 Day, Acid Rap, and Coloring Book. That’s not to say that it was a bad thing, however; the intimacy of the Garfield Park Conservatory allowed Chance to perform each of these songs passionately and with an added sense of spirituality. And though there weren't any major surprises for the evening, he did debut one Big Day cut: “Do You Remember.” Between songs, Chance continuously expressed his appreciation to the crowd for of their support; Chance's Big Day was certainly a memorable evening in Chicago.
“Regardless of what happens after tomorrow, I’m glad that you’re finally, finally with me,” he tells the crowd. Apparently, that “regardless” may have been hinting at the album's delayed release. Regardless, here are four standout moments from Chance the Rapper and Spotify’s Big Day.
Chance The Rapper pours his heart out
Throughout the evening, Chance got personal with his fans during several interludes. He took old and new fans on a very personal journey as he shared stories of traveling on his first national tour with the late, great Mac Miller, traveling on small Midwest tours in a car belonging to his manager's mom, and how he rose to become a Grammy award-winning artist all while remaining an independent artist.
Deeper than rap though, he constantly expressed his deepest gratitude to his wife, Kirsten Bennett, and their daughters for not only their support, but also helping him become a better man, father, and husband. As you may expect, there was hardly a dry eye in the house during some of these moments, as the audience poured their love right back towards the man who they watched grow from the beginning of his career.
He turned a minor mistake into a memorable moment
Despite the emotional tone of the show, Chano from 79th had the fans pretty hype throughout his energetic performances of “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” All We Got,” and the explosive “No Problems.” He also decided to give the crowd a treat when he performed a song from his 10 Day mixtape, "Brain Cells." But, despite all his attempts to play it smooth, Chance somehow forgot the lyrics to the throwback record, which understandably, he was not used to performing. So, like the showman he is, he gave the eager fans a chance to fill in the blanks, creating a huge and fun sing-a-long instead.
Chance debuts The Big Day's “Do You Remember”
Chance’s reveal of “Do You Remember” felt highly appropriate for the evening’s personal and spiritual tone; musically, it’s a more poignant play on his usual gospel & R&B fusions, with sobering keys and an ethereal soundscape. Lyrically, it’s a compelling, somber retrospective look into Chance’s personal journey that’s almost reminiscent of songs like “Same Drugs” and “Summer Days.” The adoring crowd were captivated by Chance’s heartfelt performance, which then set the tone for the rest of Chance’s show.
He took us to church as he concluded with “Blessings”
As Chance arrived on stage for the encore, he came through for the reprise of “Blessings,” which had to have been one of his strongest performances of the song to date. With the help of The Social Experiment, the room’s spiritual vibes became even stronger and he encouraged everyone to count and appreciate their blessings, making for a high point of the evening and as heartwarming a close to the show as one could hope.
Chance The Rapper’s new album, The Big Day, is now available on all streaming services and digital marketplaces.