I caught Chance The Rapper's Be Encouraged Tour at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY on September 26. There must be something in the water in Chicago because the talent coming out of that city is unmatched. This was my third time seeing him in concert, and each time the crowd has grown bigger. As far as the setting goes, this particular venue fits an enormous crowd. The lighting and pyrotechnics were insane – there was no need to use the flash on any of my snaps. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a louder confetti explosion, and I haven’t quite seen the same energy at a any other show.
Now to describe the show itself: With DJ Oreo and Francis and the Lights having already got the crowd warmed up, the mood was set. It was pretty quiet and dark. The crowd was amped and waiting for the main event. We heard Chance doing some of his adlibs from backstage.Then came the fireworks. A loud explosion goes off, literal sparks fly from the stage, and there he was! Chance opened the show with his song “Mixtape” off of his most recent project, Coloring Book. He performed a series of songs from the project along with a few fan favorites from Acid Rap, his second mixtape released in 2013. Backed by a full band, these guys had the crowd’s attention the entire time. New tracks like “No Problem” and “All We Got” really hyped up the crowd. The musicality was excellent. There’s something about rap over live instruments that separates Chance from others. His whole stage presence separates him from others. He shows up with a noticeable attitude that says, “I’m just here to have good time with you guys”.
I’d be doing this review a disservice if I didn’t discuss the band. Accompanying Chance on stage were The Social Experiment, consisting of Peter Cottontail on keyboards, Nico Segal on trumpet, and Stix on percussion. Together, they put on a show like no other; different rhythms, crossing between different genres, crowd interactions. I honestly cannot wait until the next tour!
Sidenote: I also got to meet Chance prior to the show! He’s an awesome guy and was super sweet!