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Kanye West Saint Pablo Tour

Posted by on Sunday, November 6, 2016 in Blog posts.

“9:14, Saturday, September 24” an audience member’s phone reads as he looks down to check the time. He nearly drops his phone from his moist palm; sweaty with anticipation for the moment he has been waiting his whole life for. Arguably the most famous artist on the planet, and his all time favorite artist was supposed to take the stage nearly 45 minutes ago. You can feel the tension throughout the stadium as no one wants to commit to a conversation knowing that at any moment Kanye West is about to grace their presence with his world “Saint Pablo Tour.” Then a speaker turns on, a fog machine blows smoke from back stage, and a packed to the brim Bridgestone Arena erupts with excitement as 20,000 people rise and cheer as they know they are about to experience the concert of a life time. Kanye may not be a model American; he has pissed a lot of people off, he has said some things that most people would not dare to say, and for better or worse he has been in the national spotlight ever since he dropped his debut album, “The College Dropout,” in 2004. But one thing that I do not think anyone can debate is that Kanye West is a creative genius, and he proved it once again.

With as much social unrest as there currently is in this country, it is important that people have an escape. Music, live performance music in particular, has a unique ability to bring people together and forget about everything else if only just for one night. 20,000 people of all different races, backgrounds, and ages packed into a tight arena, cheering and participating as one in Kanye West’ creation is a special thing. Song after song Kanye would look to the crowd for their help singing the chorus or favorite lines, and sometimes he would even restart the song if he did not get the enthusiasm or reaction he was hoping for. He did this when he played his song “Famous” calling particular attention to his line about Taylor Swift. He restarted the song 3 times and each time the crowd cheered louder and louder and in a way only Kanye West can because of his lack of filter, he was able to get people in Taylor Swift’s hometown to sing along to a song that is pretty disrespectful to her womanhood. But that’s the special thing about Kanye, he’s a jerk and he’d probably be the first one to tell you that, but he’s not hiding it, he’s not shy about it, but more importantly he’s the jerk the people need. He’s the guy who says the things on everyone’s mind, the guy who calls out the billionaires at Nike to try and make fashionable affordable clothing for everyone (I said try, he’s not there yet – still very expensive), and a guy that America needs to bring about some change in this country.

This performance, along with providing a much-needed escape for people, was so important because of what it will do for performance going forward. While live concerts used to be a band selling a record, then going on stage and singing that record for fans, this is not what concerts are about anymore. They are performances now. Art. Theatre. And while this evolution has been happening for a while, Kanye absolutely raised the bar for what we can expect in the future. Between his floating stage, merchandise, and laser light show on stage he truly put on a performance unlike any other. The concept of a floating stage is something that I have never thought of before, but after seeing it in person; I don’t see how anyone can use anything else now. While it does make it more difficult to bring guests on stage, there is not a bad seat in the house now. Even all the way up in the nosebleeds, Kanye floats right over to you and you can watch him sings songs in your section as if he is talking directly to you. In addition to this, his creative genius was also displayed during his merchandising. Kanye is a brand and a very popular one at that. People want to get involved in what he is representing and he allowed his fans to do that. He placed merchandise shops near all the entrances, so that you could not even go to your seat without looking at the designs. He also had the savvy veteran move of not starting his performance until an hour after the scheduled start time even though there was no opening act. This almost forced people to go stand in line and buy merchandise because they had nothing else to do besides wait. And finally, his use of lighting was also very inspirational, yet very intentional. He started off the performance with orange and red lights shooting from beneath the stage, as if he were on a spaceship and fire were blasting him off. This was a common theme throughout the performance and ultimately ended with his famous “Ultralight beam” of blue and white lights shining down on him from above as if the heavens are opening and letting him in. Kanye thinks highly of himself and portrays himself as a god, but he also can put on a great performance and paint a picture with the way he uses his lighting.

This performance had so many unique qualities but was also very culturally relevant at the same time. It provided people their much-needed escape and united people in a way only music can. It also raised the bar for performances in the future, which is also a good thing because of the power that performance can have. While Kanye may not be everybody’s favorite American, his creative genius shined through once again and reminded us why he is one of the most popular artist of all time.

Works Cited

Jserba@mlive.com, John Serba |. “Concert Review: Kanye West’s ‘Saint Pablo Tour’ an Awe-inspiring Display of Art and Ego.” MLive.com. N.p., 28 Sept. 2016. Web. 06 Nov. 2016.

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