On Sunday Nov. 17, I saw Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar perform at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass. and it was incredible. Anyone that knows me can attest to how much I love West and how quickly I come to his defense in regards to his music, behavior, Twitter rants, etc. I firmly believe that we, as humans, will look back in 20 to 30 years and realize how talented Yeezy really is.
And this concert further solidified that notion.
Lamar’s set was very much what I expected, him on the stage, getting the crowd involved, thanking everyone for being there and just showing an overall sincerity regarding his gratitude for the patrons and passion for what he does. It was very entertaining.
It took about 30 minutes for everything to get set up after Lamar finished his set, which annoyed me at first. It’s not like there was a band with drums and amps to set up. What was the holdup?
A mountain. A mountain was the holdup. Part of West’s stage was a mountain that he used throughout the whole show. It became a volcano at one point and was split in half. At this moment, I knew I was in for something special.
The lights went down and West’s entrance music came on. Instant chills took over – which would happen multiple times over the course of the two-and-a-half hour set.
A group of cloaked women came out and stood in two lines with pantyhose-like material over their faces. They just stood there. They weren’t dancers. Then West came out and they turned around and left.
He played three consecutive songs off his latest record Yeezus before taking a break. At this point, the women came back in flesh-colored suits – in a pattern I’m confident West designed – and different masks. I’m not sure if what happened next was scripted, but I really hope it wasn’t. West went up to two of them and adjusted the way they were facing. He made them turn maybe three inches to the left or right, nothing that seemed scripted. It was completely believable to think he was unsatisfied with the way these two girls were facing, no matter how insignificant to the crowd.
The show only progressed deeper into the realm of weird and fascinating West creations. There were five segments that divided the concert – fighting, rising, falling, searching and finding. An unknown, angelic female voice introduced the segments. She read the definition of each word before the show continued. Beyond the cloaked and masked women, there were appearances by a terrifying wolf-monkey-demon thing that crawled around the mountain during “Hold My Liquor” and a Jesus Christ lookalike.
When he came out, West simply said, “Oh white Jesus!” Then the savior – Jesus, not West – turned around and left. Just Kanye being Kanye.
At the end of “Runaway,” West went on a heavily scripted semi-singing rant. It was a soliloquy about why he does what he does. Why he is obnoxious to people, why he behaves the way he does, why he thinks he’s the best – he does have a song titled “I Am a God”. In no way was it an apology.
To a similar effect, West never truly acknowledged the crowd, as Lamar did. He showed no gratitude for everyone being there, never thanked the crowd and never even said “Boston.”
West is out for himself. Not in a selfish or vain manner, but just for his own entertainment. Anyone that listens or watches is just extra gravy. With his latest album Yeezus, he has said he is not trying to sell records or get on the radio, and this show was very much to that mindset.
The Yeezus Tour show was not a concert. It was a spectacle. It was an experience. Like West’s last two albums, there was no single part better than another; it was cohesive, and without each piece, the beauty is lost.
I am unabashedly and madly a fan of whatever West does. I have always said he could write country music and I would love it. Not just because he would have written it but also because it would be the best country album ever. This show does not change any of that at all.
Mark my words; in two decades from now, people will remember West for his genius. And to everyone attending the Yeezus Tour, it will be the most apparent.