Red Bull Music Festival: Opening Night

Last year, WLUW had the opportunity to attend & review one of the most exclusive and exciting series to happen in 2017–Red Bull Sound Selects 30 Days in Chicago series. This year, Red Bull is switching it up and taking a new approach to their annual Chicago event series with the Red Bull Music Festival. The month of November will be sprinkled with concerts dates, live radio performances, and programming centered around niche communities of music in Chicago.

We will miss the abundance of performances that last year’s showcase provided for Chicagoans, but there has been no shortage of entertainment so far. On Saturday, November 3rd, Red Bull kicked off the month-long festival at Wintrust Arena with a milieu of hip-hop hype.

The opening night featured G.O.O.D Music signed artists such as 070 Shake, Valee, Desiigner, Teyana Taylor, Pusha T, and Nas. SheckWes was unable to perform as scheduled.

As festival-goers arrived, cloth wristbands commemorating the date were fastened onto their wrists before entering the floor of the arena. The stage set up, designed by Nate Boyce, brought the experience out of this world. Resembling something halfway from a fake lunar landing set and halfway from a futuristic-sacrificial altar to the gods of G.O.O.D Music, 3D projections stood out above the all-white stage production.

The arena filled up as a local DJ from WGCI hyped the crowd up with popular radio hits and deep cuts from Kanye West. Around 9 PM, curtains around the upper levels were drawn shut & the lights began to dim. Jalen Kobayashi took the stage and laid right into his original poem “The Zoo,” showcasing the kind of talent that back up his assertion that “Red Bull isn’t the only thing that gives my city wings.” Shortly after, 707 Shake came out ablaze in red leather pants with an intimate performance to “Violent Crimes” off of Kanye West’s latest album Ye, followed by  “Ghost Town.” The extravaganza continued almost immediately. As 070 Shake exited the stage, Chicago artist Valee took the stage as the beat to “Womp Womp” played out. The hometown artist performed “Shell,” “Miami,” and “Two 16’s (Now We Can Talk Sum Shit)” with the help of Chasethemoney.

Up next, Desiigner crouched side stage before erupting into an energetic rendition of “Panda,” a track responsible for his addition to the G.O.O.D Music label. With an explosion, he worked the stage from center to right, getting close and personal with the crowd. During “Timmy Turner” he descended down the stage stairs to the barricade and had security hold him over the barricade. After performing “Outlet”, he demanded the crowd open up the pit,and pushed two guards over the barricade before jumping in himself to rally with fans. 

Teyana Taylor turned things up a notch with a more elaborate performance. Two instrumentalists wearing RSVP sweatshirts and several dancers with matching outfits accompanied Taylor as she kicked off her set with the intro to the acclaimed Kanye West song “Dark Fantasy”. Taylor modeled much of the performance off her K.T.S.E (Keep That Same Energy) Tour, performing songs such as “Gonna Love Me” and other popular tracks off the album released by G.O.O.D Music and Def Jam Records.

The penultimate act, Pusha T, had the crowd enthralled. Pusha T took the stage draped in purple velvet pants like rap royalty. King push performed songs “If You Know You Know,” “The Games We Play,” “Santeria” and more from his somewhat controversial and most recent album Daytona in numerical order. He ended the set on a Chicago related note, bumping the infamous Chief Keef’s “Don’t Like.1.”

For the main event, Nas brought everything the night of hip-hop back to its’ roots. Behind the legend, a DJ booth with “Nasir” was lit up and visuals ranging from cop car chases and iconic scenes from the movie Scarface danced across the backdrop. Nas performed his hits “If I Ruled the World,” “Hate Me Now,” “Adam and Eve” from his latest album Nasir, and ended on “Not For Radio.”

If you missed out on this amazing one of a kind night, have no fear–Red Bull has more spectacular events happening this month.

Find out more about ticketing & events happening HERE!

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