Last night, Kanye West had his second show of his “Yeezus” tour in San Jose, California. I struggled for awhile on whether or not I was going to write a review for a few reasons. My main reason was because I am a Kanye West “stan”. There is very little he can do wrong in my eyes, therefore making any review I would produce totally bias. Even if I hated the concert I would never let you know know that. I refuse to give people more ammo to shoot down the visions and goals he as for his art. With that being said, I did decide to write a review [obviously, right?]. However, instead of giving you his set list and telling you if you should go or not, I rather share with you the sights and sounds of the show. I’ll share my experience, rather than forcing my opinion down your throats.
So first let me tell you that this damn concert starts on time. If you are a “concert goer” than you know that this is not usually the case. The show sometimes starts a good 30 minutes or so after the time printed on your ticket…not on the “Yeezus” tour. Kendrick Lamar promptly hit that stage at 7:30pm. Because this show was in bay area, Kendrick brought out the ambassador of the bay, E-40. As someone who lives in San Francisco, I can tell you this is very common. When hip hop acts come to town they almost always bring out either E-40 or Too Short and sometimes both. It always gets the crowd hyped because we’re proud of the music that comes out of this area.
After Kendrick, the set-up for Mr. West begins. Okay, I need to point this out to you and it’s a bit tedious [depending on who you are]. The music that is playing during the intermission is not hip hop. It’s not even the latest music. If you pay attention you will notice that it is old school r&b that has been sampled for various hip hop tracks. For example, “Juicy Fruit” by Mtume which was sampled for Biggie Smalls’ “Juicy”. And if the song wasn’t sampled then it was just straight old school r&b like “Back Down Memory Lane” by Minnie Riperton. I rather enjoyed it. Such a change from blasting the latest 2 Chainz or Drake cut. It kept the crowd pretty relaxed.
After a loop of old school hits play for awhile, the lights go down at almost 9pm sharp [Kanye is not on CPT]. Out comes these…these… I don’t want to call them dancers, because they didn’t dance, but I will call these ladies performance artist serving as key visual aids throughout the concert. Each one was dressed in a nude body suit and wore what appeared to be something comparable to a stocking cap over their faces. They slowly walk out and await along with the crowd of the arrival of Kanye West, or as we will call him on this tour, “Yeezus”. When the rapper does emerge, he is dawning a Masion Martin Margiela mask. In fact, his whole tour wardrobe is Margiela. In total, Kanye wore four mask and did not take it off until the very end of the show. I was impressed that he could perform with it on for so long, yet disappointed because I wanted to see that mug of his.
Another thing I feel it is important to point out is that Kanye spends most of the show at the stage in the middle of the arena. I point this out because there are very expensive VIP general admission tickets that are being sold that let people stand at the front stage. I would advise you to not buy those, you will be cheated out of an experience you think you’re paying for. Kanye is rarely at that stage, I’m almost tempted to say never.
Which brings me the set-up of the stage. It looks complicated, but in actuality is very simple. The center stage that sometimes rises a bit in the front [think Lion King, when they raise Simba to meet the pride], is the main stage. On the front stage [which rarely gets used] there is a mountain that is sometimes foggy and other times emitting fire and flames. Kanye performs one song at the top of this mountain ['Power']. Interesting enough the projector is hovering above this mountain. This helps make the mountain look taller than it actually is as well as provides the fans with a more detailed look at Kanye’s masks and wardrobe. There is a live band, but it’s pretty far off to the side of the front stage. It was clear that the band’s role was to be heard and not seen.
Kanye barely talks to the crowd on this tour. He mentions his mother and the song ['Coldest Winter'] he wrote for her before he performs it and at the very end ask if the crowd had a good time and shots out his fiance [Yes, Kim was there with her mom Kris]. Kanye not conversing with the crowd was not as awkward as it may sound. Kanye’s fans don’t need to hear him talk, they just want the music. Let’s face it, we’ve heard him talk enough in these past few weeks.
Overall, this concert is a religious experience. No, I’m serious. The theme of this tour is Jesus, despite the title being “Yeezus”. There are many religious reference to God and Jesus and the role Knaye’s faith has played in his life. The show can be viewed as a play or a musical about Kanye’s journey through life and how God has lead him through certain situations. God influences Kanye in so many ways: lyrically, creatively, spiritually, and so on. The concept of “Yeezus” isn’t that I am on the same level or higher than Jesus [or God], but that because Kanye was created in His image, he is a reflection of Him and therefore he is Him…we are all are. Kanye has embraced the God within him and is trying to encourage his listeners to do the same, despite what anyone has to say about it. By the end of the concert, the audience has grasped this concept with great understand, so by the time Kanye performs “Jesus Walks” it has taken on an even greater meaning than it would have if he would have chose to perform the song earlier in the evening.
After attending this show, I can say that it is a fact that Kanye not only thinks he’s great, he wants us to think and know that we are great too.
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