It’s 7:30 pm Saturday November 16th and the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia is packed. As I wait for 8pm to approach with a cup full of Hennessey in hand, it hit me that in less than 30 minutes Kanye West will be hitting the stage. At that very moment every fiber in my entire body becomes full of excitement. I mean, for crying out loud, I’m at the Kanye West concert. Not that I haven’t seen him before, but this time just seems to be different. You see, there were many hurdles that had to be cleared just for me to get here. Enlisting a group of fans to attend the show seemed impossible, and after months of back and forth trying to see who’s going and who isn’t? Or who wants to and then who can’t? It seemed as though I wasn’t going to make it. There was even at one point where I decided that I would stand in the rafters and sing along to every song alone. Needless to say, tickets were finally purchased and I knew I would be seeing Yeezy. Then the inevitable happened. After the much-anticipated tour hit the road to entertain Kanye’s devoted fans. The tour came to a screeching halt due to circumstances beyond his power leaving many tour dates postponed. I then became worried, because every date that was approaching was being postponed and I knew my stop on the tour was soon in line. I thought to myself “is Yeezus season not approaching”? Then the tour was put on hold and said to resume on November 16th in Philadelphia Pa. my tour stop.
Kendrick Lamar had recently left the stage after baring a piece of his soul to the crowd and now opera music that sounds like something Kanye had composed began to play; as ladies in line wearing long white gowns held candles and made their way to the stage and took place. I knew it was the moment I was waiting for. Then it happened! The “Yeezus” album opening song “On Sight” began to play as the crowd goes crazy and Ye made his way center stage rapping line for line. The Yeezus experience had officially begun.
The stage lighting was something out of a light show spectacular. Not to mention the stage set itself. The mountaintop that looked like a huge iceberg or better yet, The Fortress of Solitude from the original Superman movie. The entire set appeared as it were well thought out and craftily designed to suite many looks for his overall theme of the show. And when I say show, I mean a show! Kanye took that stage for a duration that was shy three hours giving the packed arena great production with a string of his countless hits. He had ample, but minimum costume changes throughout the show and nothing perceiving over the top or drastic. He made it all about the music. Giving us a meeting place of extreme and well enough. He knows his talent and worth, that’s why he had no hype men or entourage on stage with him like majority of hip hop artist. Just himself and occasionally his ballet dancers that he’s known to have prance around stage.
As the show went on and he continued to entertain us, it seemed he was very selective about the music he performed. He didn’t perform any song from the “Watch the Throne” album, but performed every song off of the “Yeezus” album and giving the crowd something from every album of his discography. A few featured verses from other songs were performed along with a few hidden gems in the likes of “Street Lights” and “Coldest Winter.” Of course you can’t have Mr. West make a public appearance and not go on a rant. During his performance of “Runaway” he went on one of his famous rants, but it was all positive and encouraging. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the controversial “Jesus” character that took stage during the show. When the tour first began the media was making a big deal about him having “Jesus” like character take stage during the show. However, it’s merely a metaphor and part of the show. Throughout majority of the show he performed with the famous “Ye Mask” on. At a certain part of the show “Jesus” comes out and touches his head and prays. Kanye then unmask himself and goes into hit song “Jesus Walks.” Implying the gesture and statement that he’s been purified.
The show was far away from any traditional show you’ll attend. I wouldn’t even call it a concert. It was truly an experience. A musical genius like himself will only make other artist rise to the occasion and give their fans quality shows to accompany their music. Kanye will continue to change the rap industry with his ever-evolving music and image that’s far from traditional hip-hop. People will continue to call him crazy, weird, strange and different because he’s not your traditional complacent hip-hop artist. He’s a rare artistry and anything he does will forever and always be an experience.