Two months after Boston Calling founder Mike Snow told us how the festival doubled in size and curated one of the best lineups of 2017, the festival finally descended on Harvard’s Athletic Complex in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the first day of three, featuring a headlining performance from real-life superhero Chance The Rapper that was nothing short of spectacular.
After a twenty minute rain delay that tested the patience of even his biggest fans, the man rode onto the stage on a small BMX bike, jumping off and delivering the opening lines to Coloring Book single “Mixtape” along with a cacophony of fireworks and onstage explosions. Backed with a full live band in the form of the his friend Donnie Trumpet and the band the Social Experiment (which includes a small choir), Chance tore through all the hits from Coloring Book back to Acid Rap, even including some of Life of Pablo tracks he co-wrote with Kanye, as well as “I’m The One,” his recent chart-topping collaboration with DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Lil Wayne and Quavo.
Despite the crowd of tens of thousands, Chance still somehow made the show seem intimate, traversing the barrier dividing the two sides of the crowd to a stage behind the light tower to sing “Finish Line/Drown” and “Same Drugs,” sitting on a stool in the middle of the crowd basked in a singular spotlight. Throughout the whole show, Chance thanked everyone profusely for their role in allowing him to be on the main stage at Boston Calling after playing smaller venues around the city, and preached for love and equality in the world. He even asked the crowd at the end of the set, “Do you want to go to heaven?” before closing with “Blessings (Reprise)” and thanking everyone once again, before the stage went dark and the piano faded into the cold, damp night, and everyone made their way toward the exit to Cambridge reflecting on seeing a true angel in person.
“Waves / Father Stretch My Hands / Ultralight Beam” (Kanye West cover)
“Sunday Candy” (Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment cover)
“D.R.A.M. Sings Special”
“I’m The One” (DJ Khaled cover)
“Cocoa Butter Kisses”
“All We Got”
“May I Have This Dance (Remix)” (Francis and the Lights cover with Francis and the Lights)
“Finish Line / Drown”
Boston Calling continues through the weekend.