REVIEW: Magnificent Coloring Day gives new hues to South Side

Chance’s performance Sept. 24 at the U.S. Cellular Field became a story telling experience rather than a concert performance. His connection with audiences and coloring the stage himself with props and lights created a ‘Coloring Book.’


The talk of the weekend was Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day, which brought “Blessings” to the South Side. 

Although Jamila Woods—the singer featured on the hit song—was sadly absent, the event united all of Chicago and broke the attendance record at the U.S. Cellular Field Sept. 24, as he told the audience during his long set.

Those not lucky enough to score a ticket could watch the festival online at Tidal. The music service streamed the concert live for members and gave non-members a 2-minute preview before forcing them to sign up. 

The concert featured Tyler the Creator, Lil Wayne and 2Chainz, Skrillex, John Legend, Alicia Keys, and of course, Chance the Rapper. But, some artists who weren’t on the bill made their way on stage—like Kanye West and Common, both South Side natives and Chance’s mentors.

Chance has quickly become a prolific Chicago artistone most millennials love because of his independence and powerful writing aimed at elevating the community and also what he represents for Chicago. Lil Chano from 79th—his nickname and Twitter handle—is a unifying force in a segregated city whobrought fans from all over to the Armour Square neighborhood at least for one night.

Although he took his sweet time coming on stage and had two painfully long pauses throughout his almost-two-hour set, Chance pulled out the unexpected with his show—something all fans can expect from him. All colors and all glory, Chance and his ensemble included singing character puppets, the Chicago Children’s Choir and the Social Experiment. 

Aside from Lil Chano, next best event was West’s surprise set. When he casually walked onstage after Tyler the Creator’s performance, the crowd went wild and literally could not be contained. Thousands of fans—most of whom had already left their seats because no one actually likes Tyler the Creator—came rushing back and paid no attention to the large black barricade separating the field from the bleachers. They barreled over it and rushed to the pit area to get some themselves some Kanye and chaos ensued. People were pushed down and trampled on, and security could do little to contain those running fanatics, but no one was seriously injured.

“Look, it’s Chance,” one fan screamed to her friend when West showed up, to which her friend responded, “No b—h, that’s Kanye!”

People could not calm down after West’s 10-minute set. He got the heat to rise and the party to really start. When John Legend took to the stage, the crowd was hyper-ready, dancing and crying with squeaky breaking voices. 

Legend belted out his feel-good, heart-string-pulling songs like “All of Me” with his piano center stage and back-up singers filling the arena, and then brought on Common to sing “Glory” to finish off his set. Fans freaked out again, but this time security was prepared, standing still like Terracotta warriors. Not to put down Common—he was one of the performers who made the festival truly memorable—but the crowd was more ecstatic for Kim Kardashian’s hubby’s surprise appearance.

Stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress also made a surprise appearance after Common and John Legend and was humbled by the crowd’s energy.

“I do standup comedy, and Kanye West and John Legend just opened for me,” he said in awe.

Buress humorously summed up the festival’s lineup one of Chance’s playlists on shuffle. The shuffle was most appealing to the audience; music for everyone was in the air, although Collegrove—Lil Wayne and 2Chainz—didn’t need to have that long of a set. Some people in the audience speculated this was because Young Thug—who was supposed to play before Tyler the Creator—didn’t perform, but nobody really missed him.

Most people will forget Chance was a little off key at the beginning of his set, which started with “Angels” and “Blessings” from his new album Coloring Book. What they will remember are words of unity and peace sung by Alicia Keys and John Legend before him, making pleas to end gun violence in Chicago and asking audience members to love each other. 

“God bless each other. Hold onto each other. We need each other,” Keys said as she left the stage. Chance, with the help of The Social Experiment and his singing puppet friends, echoed the empowering message and closed out his performance with a broad question to the audience: “Are you ready for your miracle?”

The audience answered, “Yes,” by lighting up phones and lighters, sharing an iridescent moment with millions of strangers. The festival was something Chicago and its South Side needs, because violence is synonymous with the South Side. Chance is changing that perception and at the same time, fighting against the all-too-common reality of violence in the area. Chances are, he will make this a tradition.