I’m a big Kanye West fan. A polarizing figure on a good day, Ye/Yeezy/Yeezus is not shy about causing a little controversy, putting on a show, and saying some pretty outlandish statements. People take offense and are (understandably) turned off by his arrogance but, for me, his music, obvious passion, and insanity only add to his appeal.
After a long
obsession love affair with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, I decided Kanye would be the artist to see for my first ever stadium-style show. I’ve been to many concerts, but the closest I’ve come to a stadium is the Molson Ampitheatre – which isn’t very close at all in terms of the types of shows and sets that are hosted at each venue.
So, on what was thought to be the last night of the Yeezus tour, I headed to the ACC for my first stadium concert and my first rap concert.
So many firsts make it difficult to rate, rank, or make very many certain statements about quality without any other point of reference.
Instead, I offer some highlights and low-lights of an exhilerating, unique, and fun live music experience.
5. “All of the Lights” light show.
After an impressive pyrotechnics display, flares went up that left the crowd was washed in a red glow. So fitting, so cool, and a great song.
4. “Runaway” intro.
Am I the only one who was like wtf is this box and why does he keep hitting that note? Then it came together, the beat dropped, and it was basically magic. Great track, made even better live.
3. “The Good Life”
Need I say more? Extended, with little tweaks like, “It feel like T.O. on the last show” made the song everybody loves even better.
2. Kanye performing Drake cover – and then Drake performing.
I was content with Kanye performing “Still Fly” so when Drake came out, finished the song and performed “All Me” it was bananas.
1. Jesus removing Yeezus’ mask – perfectly timed to “Jesus Walks”.
The theatrics of it, the fact that you got confirmation it was actually Kanye up there, how overdue it was (see below), and just how amped the crowd got made it a real turning point as the show soared, flawlessly, toward the end.
Honorable Mentions: “Coldest Winter” for sentimental reasons/proof he has a soul, the masks, handing off his mic and making some kid’s life at the end, Bound 2, the length and veracity of his performance.
5. The terrible crash after being teased with the opening (and presence of a) “Monster”.
Extremely biased, since this is one of my favourite Kanye songs, but it was just too bittersweet to have it dangled there and then taken away.
4. Too much audience singing on the new tracks.
I just wanted to hear Kanye say “SWEET AND SOUR SAWCE” (yes, it is spelled SAWCE in this case) but instead I got to sort of hear the crowd say it really muffled.
4. Naked lady circle.
Just awkward and sexist watching girls in full-pantyhose-suits and nothing else intertwined around a masked Kanye grabbing his crotch. Their eerie presence was cool but the standard female-as-faceless-identical-object schtick has been done.
3. The masks.
This was a bit of a love/hate thing – they were designed by Martin Margiela which is cool, and some of them were truly beautiful. My personal favourite was the disco-ball one, but the more cage-like (see rant photo below) ones ended up being more distracting for me than perfomative. Cool concept for the theatrical/aesthetic/theme of the show, but after awhile I couldn’t help thinking I paid to see him and how he felt/looked/expressed his music.
1. Kanye’s rant (the first more than the second).
There were moments where it was actually thought-provoking and enjoyable, but they were fleeting, and it quickly devolved into a complaint about people on the internet hating on him & Jay Z, since, “as musicians they provide a service.” Boo-friggity-hoo. Most of the audience wound up in their seats by the end which says a lot.
Highlight of the Low-Light: “The opposite of love is indifference. So hate and love are actually very similar emotions.”
Honorable Mention: the ‘definitions’ between acts.
Love him or hate him, he’s one talented/creative/original/dedicated looney. The most incredible thing for me may have been how easy it was to see where the leap to Yeezus was made – the man walked on stage and incited screams of adoration. The man said anything and people, again, screamed with adoration. People (myself included – always with a sense of humor) came to hear the gospel of Yeezus and ate it up. Cocky and arrogant? Yes. A product of the times/his environment? Definitely.
In our capitalist celebrity culture who are the ‘New Gods’?