By the time Chance the Rapper hit the Downtown Stage at 11:30 p.m., the ocean of bodies that flooded Downtown Las Vegas were more than ready for their blessings. The spirited Chicago rapper-turned-philanthropic hero zipped across the stage on a motorcycle, hopping off with stuntman efficiency and immediately propelling into “Mixtape.” The crowd knew right then that the next hour would be exactly what they’d hoped for.
Backed by The Social Experiment band and vocalists Thirdstory, Chance delivered a jam-packed hourlong set full of pyrotechnics and gospel-rap. He even delivered a short block of Kanye West cuts, including a surprising performance of his unreleased verse from “Waves” before commanding the congregation to use their voices for “Ultralight Beam” (“I feel like a lot of people came here to sing this song, so let’s do it right,” he said). For his older fans, he took it back to Acid Rap, letting everyone know that “I was a on a very different path before my Coloring Book album.” His showed us his maturation, going from songs like drug-fueled ballad “Lost” to closing with “Blessings (Reprise),” rapping: “The people’s champ must be everything the people can’t be.” With his performance at Life is Beautiful, he proved himself worthy of that title—the people’s champ—as tens of thousands threw their hands up in praise.
Photos by Jesse J Sutherland
D.R.A.M. Sings Special (performed by Thirdstory)
I’m the One
Cocoa Butter Kisses
All We Got