Crowded and underwhelming

 

 

On a chilly fall night, Colby students wandered from all across campus down to the Athletic Center for the Verge Campus Fall Tour 2014 featuring Chance the Rapper. By the time I got there (which was at 10 on the dot—dinner with my parents went over time), the line snaked outside of the gym and down the sidewalk. Colby kids, siblings, and Watervillians alike squirmed to stay cold and chatted with their friends while waiting to enter.

Once inside, it got even more crowded and chaotic. There was barely any space to take a step, and the air was so congested that at one point I almost had trouble breathing. My friends and I waited for what seemed like an hour to get our ticket checked and to get wanded by security, but once we did, we sprinted into the gym so as not to miss Chance.

When we got into the field house, the colorful lights blinded me while the combination of screaming fans and the bass playing over the speakers was so loud that the ringing in my ears still hasn’t gone away.  The sea of people seemed to go on for miles, and I had to strain my eyes to see the stage, where the last opener was about to finish up and introduce Chance. My friends and I tried to push up to the front, but it was so hot and sweaty in the audience that we immediately changed our minds and moved to the back.

While I was waiting for Chance to come on, I started to observe the audience. I quickly noticed that there seemed to be many people from outside the college, which I found interesting because the concert was originally a Colby event. As I walked throughout the crowd trying to find a good spot, I felt dirty looks from all around me, as if I wasn’t welcome there. Caitlin Brookner ’16 noticed a similar pattern; she said, “I was surprised by the large number of non-Colby students that attended.” Although every concert that Colby hosts is open to the public, it seemed as if this particular occasion hosted more people from the public than usual, and I couldn’t help but wonder why.

Once the audience started to get more hyped about the fact that Chance was about to come on stage, there was a palpable rise in aggression from the crowd. More people started to push toward the front, the screaming got louder, and the air got even muggier than it was previously. Even the DJ onstage said something along the lines of, “You guys need to push back. Chance will not come on if you don’t push back.” At this point, I had somehow ended up closer to the front, so I constantly felt as if I was being pushed back and forth without even trying, so I felt the DJ’s pain.

Big disclaimer: I’m a little bit obsessed with Chance and love his music. So, when Chance finally came on, I don’t think I’ve been that pumped to see someone in a concert in a while. I was having a great time, jamming to all of my favorites, when I realized how aggressive this concert was. Chance can be pretty aggressive in his music, so I think that this mood spread into the audience. Kids were shoving, punching, and screaming unnecessarily in order to get closer to the stage or grab the random joint that was in someone’s hand a few feet away. When Chance told people to jump to the beat, people would jump so high or aggressively that they would bump into other unassuming audience members and they would fall or trip, causing even more of a ruckus. I’m pretty sure I saw at least two fistfights break out throughout the night, and the amount of vicious DFMOs I witnessed may have broken the record.

I think we all know the song “Cocoa Butter Kisses.” It’s Chance’s most popular song, and I’m sure everyone was hyped to hear it. Well, I don’t know about you, but I was super bummed when Chance practically spoke the entire thing or didn’t even speak and just let the audience scream the chorus at him. Even his rap verses didn’t have the usual musicality that you’d hear on his SoundCloud site. “Cocoa Butter Kisses” wasn’t the only song in which I noticed this pattern: in his other popular songs such as “Juice” and “That’s Love,” he barely sang. I couldn’t help but wonder if Chance the Rapper is reliant on auto tune more than we realized, which definitely bums me out because Chance is my go-to music more often than not.

So, even though Chance played all of the songs that I wanted him to and a new song that I’m praying he’ll drop soon (“I believe that if I fly, I’ll probably end up somewhere in paradise…” genius), the overall environment of the concert was crazier than I’d hoped it would be, which made it memorable in a less positive way in my head. But, I’ll always miss those cocoa butter kisses.

chance website

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