Chance The Rapper brought his “Be Encouraged” Tour to a massively sold out Xcel Energy Center last night. This show sold out in a matter of minutes after tickets went on sale, something not even Kanye West or Adele has done. Everything about Chance The Rapper is truly self-made and DIY. To see a kid from Chicago, without the backing of a major record label, sell out the Xcel Energy Center last night, at the prime of his career, is something I will not soon forget.
Ahead of Chance The Rapper set was DJ Oreo, spinning all of the classics. Oh and by classics I mean millennial classics. It was a playlist curated for the mostly 20- something crowd packed into the Xcel Energy Center. Everything from old-school Kanye to new Drake and everything in between. Once DJ Oreo had the Xcel Energy Center nice and warmed up Chance The Rapper took to the stage, on a mini bike with fire pyrotechnics blasting from the back of the stage. His set started right around 9:00 and lasted all the way until 11:00, there was barely a quiet moment. It was truly one of the most memorable live shows I’ve seen. Memorable not just for the energy that he performed with hits such as “Same Drugs,” “Blessings” and “No Problem,” with. But memorable for the message of hope, friendship and positivity to the Xcel. As the smell of dank weed and expensive beer wafted around me I couldn’t help but be so thankful for someone like Chance The Rapper and his message of positivity and encouragement (hence the tour name). In what is often a dark world and a dark industry, Chance The Rapper is something completely different. He’s positive, he;s encouraging, he talked about real friends you love so much you’d do anything for. “Don’t forget the happy thoughts, all you need is happy thoughts,” Chance rapped during “Same Drugs.”
“I’m still getting used to the stadium thing,” Chance the Rapper said during his set. “There’s people at the top, this is fucking crazy. This is pretty crazy hold up. There are way too many people here,” Chance The Rapper said pointing to the top rows.
“Have you guys ever heard of a venue called First Avenue? That’s where I first played at so this is kind of crazy,” he went on to say. Throughout his set chance encourage the crowd to get just as crazy as they would at his little First Avenue show, that he first played back in 2012, and that was definitely the energy in the place. “Oh and this is my band, The Social Experiment, this isn’t just some random touring band by the way. This is the same band that played with me at First Avenue.”
Mixed in between a smattering songs from all of his albums and mixtapes, including Acid Rap and of course Coloring Book, none of which have been put out on major labels by the way, Chance the Rapper talked about the journey that he wanted to take everyone on that night. “We’re on this journey tonight and I just want you all to come along with me,” Chance said keeping it pretty vague. “Just this week I lost my favorite Auntie to breast cancer, she was such a warrior. And not just a warrior of cancer, but I like to think that she’s a warrior and God’s army,” Chance said nearing the end of his set. “So basically this journey that I’ve been talking about tonight is heaven. I want everyone of you in heaven. So that’s what this path is ok.”
Toward the end of his set, a walkway dropped down from the ceiling, and Chance the Rapper ran out over the crowd. Again I couldn’t help but think he’s definitely taking a few notes from Kanye West himself. Chances whole set was received with cheers and screams so loud it almost shook the Xcel. There wasn’t a moment in the set that didn’t have the Xcel on their feet dancing and singing along.
I walked away from the Xcel feeling, well encouraged. Encouraged that a kid from Chicago without a record label can make it. Encouraged that even though the world feels really dark and scary and messed up sometimes that we have hope of eternal life through the gospel of Jesus. Encouraged that my generation and the generation behind me has someone like Chance The Rapper to be an example that it’s ok to be different, and choose positivity over negativity. Encouraged to see Chance The Rapper truly being a much needed light in our often dark world.