Chicago, IL – Chris Brown brought his 38-city IndiGOAT Tour (combining the name of his new album Indigo and the acronym “Greatest of All Time”) to the United Center in Chicago on Thursday night. After canceling his performance the previous evening in Columbus, Ohio, due to an unspecified illness, Brown was back in fine form and voice, along with his formidable line-up of supporting fellow hip hop artists, Tory Lanez, Ty Dolla $ign, Joyner Lucas and Yella Breezy.
Originally from a small town in Virginia, Brown burst onto the scene as a teenager with his smooth vocals and extraordinary dance moves, inspired by his idol, Michael Jackson. Since the release of his first self-titled album in 2005 and its charts topping single, “Run It”, few artists have enjoyed Brown’s run of success. He has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and has surpassed over 10 billion audio streams across the various platforms. He won a Grammy Award for his album F.A.M.E. in 2011 and has had more than 40 gold and platinum singles making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. The current album, Indigo, released a few months ago, is Brown’s third No. 1 album. The current single, “No Guidance” featuring Drake, peaked at #6 on the Billboard Charts.
“Breezy” (as he is known by his fans) has also had his share of personal issues and brushes with the law, which have been widely covered elsewhere and won’t be rehashed here.
Supporting Brown were several other artists, big in their own right. Openers Yella Beezy and Joyner Lucas were followed by Ty Dolla $ign, who many know for his collaboration “Psycho” with Post Malone, which reached No. 1 on Billboard in 2018.
Ty Dolla $ign released his debut album in 2015, Free TC, which peaked at No. 14, and was followed by Beach House 3 in 2017. Ty Dolla amped the crowd up with energetic versions of his hits, “Or Nah” and “Blasé” over the course of a quick 30-minute set. Decked out in black leather pants with side zippers, open shirt with a thick chain, braided hair, and sunglasses, Ty looked the role of hip hop superstar that he is.
Next up was crowd favorite, Tory Lanez. From Canada, Lanez has enjoyed widespread success with the release of three studio albums and features on the records of numerous other prominent artists. The crowd erupted as he launched into his new single “Freaky” which has 87 million plays on Spotify alone. Lanez is a talented artist with an energetic flow and dexterous lyricism. Expect a lot more from him. Bonus points for the Chicago Bears baseball hat, a sign of respect to the local fans.
The pulsing crowd was ready and lathered up for Breezy after Lanez playing hype-man. Brown enjoys a large fan base in Chicago and gave the screaming throng what they wanted. The drama was amped up with C-Breezy’s entrance atop an elevated stage and clad in a neon green puffer coat and Chicago Cubs hat. The impressive set was flanked by two giant demonic Tiki statues from which emerged a gaggle of dancers wearing headlamps. Quite a spectacle. Brown blazed through a set of bangers for which the audience sang along with every word. He also showcased the very strong material from the new album, Indigo including “Back to Love” and “Juice”. Standouts were the 2007 smash, “With You”, “Freaky Friday” and the 2013 4x platinum hit, “Loyal”.
Brown is an iconic performer who has achieved much at the young age of 30. He has been prolific and consistent in producing quality music with superb production over the past 14 years, making the difficult transition from teen superstar to adult R&B and hip hop icon. He delivered to Chicago fans what they wanted: the hits, signature dance moves, and a well-choreographed big stage production with a great opening line-up. A first-class evening of entertainment.
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