If you want to know what the new Lost Lake music festival is all about, just ask Chance the Rapper. He headlined the first-year festival’s first night with the kind of exuberance usually embodied by small children in the height of a joyful moment of play. You’d never be able to tell he’d done this dozens of times over the past summer festival season.
Long before Chance hit the main Camelback Stage, you heard him. From somewhere behind the shadowy scrims and dark stage, Chance was intermittently letting loose with his signature whippoorwill whoops, sounding for all the world like a little bird in the brush signaling the coming dawn. If dawn came in the form of bursting towers of flame and a state of the art lighting rig, that is.
As soon as he leaped out of the dark, Chance was ebullient. He bounded across the stage only to pauses neatly on one side or the other, close to the edge, flickering intently. At times he seemed to hover for just a few seconds longer than is possible. His joy was contagious; it was Friday night, and the festival was just getting started.
“I didn’t feel like I won the Grammys until about two days ago,” Chance confided in the crowd, mid-set. This was Chano’s first show since he got to unpack each golden phonograph with his daughter, carefully lifting them out of the brown cardboard boxes they were shipped in. Caught on video, that alone was a tender moment that brought Chance to tears. “This is my first show as a Grammy winner,” he said, never mind that the Grammy’s were in February and it was then an unseasonably balmy August night in the Arizona desert.
Time and place shifted. Los Angeles is Chicago is Phoenix. February is October. This was a golden, extended moment for Chance, and by extension his fans. After his set, once the first night of Lost Lake closed in a blizzard of confetti and puffs of flame, Chance the Rapper flew to Atlanta for a much-deserved vacation. There’s a rumor he’s thinking about going to college there.
By then, Chance would be far from the minds of everyone flooding into the Steele Indian School Park, transformed by Superfly Productions and local partners into a desert oasis where everything was topsy-turvy. Hours before Chance took the stage, though, this place was already rocking with sets by Crystal Castles, the Pixies, Haim, and Ludacris. And when the lights went dark on Chance and the Social Experiment, the party was just getting started.