Kanye West stopped through New York City’s Madison Square Garden for his Yeezus Tour recently, and fans were in for more than just a concert; it was an experience unlike any other.
From the second you set foot inside the venue, it is clear that West’s cultural influence has widespread throughout the crowd, and not just musically. The fashion-conscious rapper brought the inner fashionista out of the attendees, together creating a sea of black and leather clothing—staple pieces in the rapper’s closet. Up and coming rapper Kendrick Lamar opened the show, effortlessly setting the bar high for the rest of the night. He performed his hits like “Poetic Justice” and “B*tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” while the crowd rose to their feet and recited the words back to the California native. After his set, the stage began to transform, preparing for West’s part of the show. As the lights dimmed, backup dancers dressed in floor-length white gowns walked onto the stage, as if entering a church ceremony. Soon after, West appeared on stage, to perform his electric “On Sight,” from his latest work “Yeezus.”
The rapper’s energy bounced throughout the arena, filling the venue with the intensity that he is known for. West sported several face masks created by designer Maison Martin Margiela, with matching outfits also created in collaboration between the designer and West. The masks seemed to symbolize which songs he would be performing, like an all black mask worn during the somber “Blood on the Leaves” and a colorfully lit mask worn during “Flashing Lights” and “All of the Lights.” He removed the masks later on in the show revealing his face to fans (thankfully!), to dissipate any rumors of a body double.
The performances not only offered much precision from the all-nude bodysuit clad backup dancers and West, but they were filled with intense emotion, both coming from West’s voice and from the crowd, enticing the powerful passion and artistic prowess that he is known for. The stage alone could be considered a work of art, as a giant mountain top sat in the center of the arena, along with an iceberg-like stage and a 60-foot screen. At one point during the show, the iceberg lifted, elevating West in a scene similar to the cliff scene featured in the “The Lion King.” The show carried on, bringing die-hard fans through a musical timeline of the rapper’s biggest hits. The uplifting and cheerful “Good Life” had the entire arena on their feet, celebrating along with the feel-good hit. During “Diamonds from Sierra Leone,” fans automatically lifted their arms creating the Roc Nation diamonds with their hands. As usual during shows, many fans around me complained about West not performing certain songs like the touching “Hey Mama” and “All Falls Down.” Before performing “Jesus Walks,” from Late Registration, the main mountain split open, releasing onto the stage a man dressed up as Jesus who spoke to West about redemption—a move almost expected from the controversial rapper but just a bit too heavy for a rap concert, IMO. A rant about American corporations like the sportswear giant Nike soon followed, with West saying “There’s no corporation that can take me away from my voice.” And we know that to be true.
He spoke about his creative agency DONDA—named after his late mom—announcing to creatives and fans alike that he is taking applications only from movers and shakers ready to change the world (Kanye, if you see this, I’m your girl!) The show abruptly came to a close with West’s latest single “Bound 2.” Its explicit video has recently spewed much controversy because West’s fiancée, Kim Kardashian, appears in the video sans clothing. The rapper has received much backlash about his show, claiming he is “too over the top.” Although it is partly true, it does not take away from the artistic thought and influence that he has spread far beyond the hip hop culture. The North American leg of the tour continues with several stops on the West Coast and the South, and continuing with previously postponed shows because of a traffic accident that destroyed the illustrious set and the enormous screen. Tickets are still available, so if you get a chance, trust me and go experience the Yeezus tour for yourself. You will not regret it.
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