Force Majeure: The Saba Performance That Almost Didn't Happen

Photos By Jude Appleby

We're wrapping up November quickly and the winter season is officially upon us. At times, it's hard to believe just how quickly this year passed. Saba's ComfortZone is over a year old, and the last time he hosted a headlining show in Chicago was in late April. At first glance, it may seem like Saba has had a fairly quiet year, but despite not having much solo material, you can't forget about his instrumental Sparechange! EP, as well as collaborations like the Tink-assisted "Temporary", and a laundry list of feature verses he's bodied, including "Open Apology" with Noname Gypsy and "Angels" with Chance The Rapper, the latter of which landed him a performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Saba has accomplished a ton and reached a couple milestones in his young career during 2015, and following the release of the "Timezone/Whip" video a couple of weeks ago, Saba wanted to close out the year and the ComfortZone chapter with one final performance of the project live in front of his home town. The week of the event, scheduled to go down at Abbey Pub on Chicago's north side, the venue caught fire and was forced to indefinitely cancel all upcoming events. While some may have rolled over and refunded ticket sales, Saba and his team refused to entertain that idea and booked another venue in a matter of days. With a lineup featuring Saba, Noname Gypsy, Zero Fatigue (Smino, Monte Booker), and others, the Abbey Pub's capacity of over 500 would have been an ideal space for this show. After being forced to move to Township in Logan Square, the venue with half the capacity of Abbey was immediately sold out. Those caught sleeping or thought they would pick up tickets at the door messed up big time. As if the venue burning down during the week of the show wasn't bad enough, on the night of the show, Chicago got hit with its first big snow storm of the season, making travel all that more difficult. 

All the mayhem aside, when doors opened at 6:00 on Saturday night, all the artists came to perform and the fans filled in Township nicely. A crowd that was almost entirely familiar with headliner Saba were introduced to newcomers Smino and Monte Booker, who have made 2015 a year to remember. Adding to the occasion was the raps and comedy of fellow Pivot Gang member Joseph Chilliams, as well as a rare performance by Noname Gypsy and her very talented band. Saba capped off the night performing each track from ComfortZone as his fans sang his lyrics back to him. He even performed a yet to be released single, "Symmetry". Although acts of nature beyond anyone's control attempted to ruin the night, they really just made the evening that much more memorable. 

Brent ButcherComment