While the title of standout performance of Lollapalooza 2017 is technically still up for grabs, the final performers have a lot to compete with after Chance the Rapper's humongous headlining set to close down Day 3 of the Chicago fest. Even in the hours leading up to the MC's set, attendees and folks backstage were talking about record-breaking numbers and a set that would rival some of Lolla's most iconic sets from Pearl Jam in 1992, Lady Gaga in 2010 or Eminem in 2014.
The grandiosity of the occasion was felt from the moment things began with a video montage of Chance's career and life highlights featuring shoutouts from Michelle Obama, performing and winning at the GRAMMYs, leading a Black Lives Matter protest in Chicago and more. Soon enough, Chance flew in on a motorcycle and an explosion of pyro to make his entrance, opening with cuts off his masterpiece mixtape Coloring Book like "Blessings" and "Angels."
Chance didn't spend a ton of time chatting with the crowd at first, but that was hardly necessary. Anytime the 24-year-old yelled something as simple as "Chicago!" the crowd erupted into cheers, taking in every moment of the set that not only showed off CTR's varying rap and singing skills, but also his penchant for striking visuals as technicolor screens gave him and his signature baseball cap a regal-like silhouette.
While many expected at least one major all-star guest to appear (in 2014 he brought out fellow Chicago native R. Kelly to his set), Chance instead paid tribute to the greats (by performing a Kanye West tribute medley) and was sure to perform his No. 1 hit "I'm the One" even if DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber nor Lil Wayne didn't pop up for their respective verses.
Perhaps more significant than bringing in another A-lister, what Chance did do was give some other up-and-coming artists a major platform to showcase their talents. Not only did he have his longtime backing band (including Nico Segal, formerly known as Donnie Trumpet) get multiple chances to shine, but he brought out rising Chicago MC Vic Mensa to perform two songs including "Didn't I" off Mensa's recently The Autobiography album. Chance also brought longtime collaborator Francis and the Lights whose Phil Collins–like delivery entranced the crowd while the rapper got a chance to take a breather, only to be followed by some fun duo choreography to their "May I Have This Dance" remix and "Summer Friends."
It'd be hard to pick one highlight from the set—some might say the moment two firefighters joined Chance onstage to spray the audience with a huge hose, others would say the crowd's proud hollers when he shouted out the South Side or maybe it was the festival's collective turn up to for "No Problems"—but it's tough to say that the final moments of the set weren't particularly special. Despite going nearly 20 minutes over his time limit, the final reprise of "Blessings" with Chance and his chorus of back-up singers singing the repeating line, "Are you ready for your blessings? / Are you ready for your miracle?" seemed to have a new meaning that Chance the Rapper, with his GRAMMYs, presidential co-signs and activist achievements, is truly ready for his blessings and whatever else is set to come on a career that's so clearly just getting started—with hundreds of thousands watching and cheering.
Stay tuned to Fuse for on-the-ground coverage from Lollapalooza including show reviews, artist interviews, and much more throughout all four days. Below, watch fellow Lolla performers Run the Jewels talk to Fuse backstage at the fest: