There are few entertainers that are as polarizing as Kanye West. The people who despise him will roll out a laundry list of reasons why they do, but on the other side of the coin, his endearing fans will unfurl a scroll of reasons why they adore him. Last night, West's Saint Pablo Tour made a stop at Quicken Loans Arena. Hordes of people lined up outside ready and eager to get an up close and personal look at their hero.
But they would have to wait a bit longer.
The problem? There was a technical issue with the Flash Seats ticketing service which meant that concertgoers had to go over to the box office and get paper tickets alongside the people who were buying tickets at the door. It was a clusterfuck of a situation that proved to be quite frustrating for all parties involved. Inside the arena, the atmosphere was dim and foggy as the crowd trickled in as fast as possible.
Nearly two hours after the show was slated to begin, the lights fell and the instant roar from the audience was deafening as West was ready to take to the stage.
That stage — a floating platform that hovered above the crowd on the floor, sailed from side to side and sometimes even tilted in multiple directions. The lights underneath bathed the concertgoers who treated the area as their own moshpit. Even LeBron James made his way down there before the night was over.
The set opened with an extended intro of "Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1" and when the beat dropped, the energy in the building elevated and kept growing throughout the evening.
When West went into "Famous" — his infamous song where he name drops Taylor Swift and leaves open the possibility of them one day having sex — he stopped when he's halfway through the song and said that he wanted to start from the top and perform it right. His reasoning being that it felt like a special night, and he was reminded of how the Cavaliers came back to win the NBA Championship this past June.
Songs from West's most recent album, The Life of Pablo
, were prominent throughout the show, but tracks from his other six albums and some outside collaborations were included as well.
Numbers like "Black Skinhead" were followed by more pop-ish tunes like "Ni***s in Paris," "Can't Tell Me Nothing" and "Good Life." Other crowd pleasers included "Flashing Lights," "Jesus Walks," "All of the Lights," "Stronger," "Runaway" and "Touch the Sky."
At times, there were musical intermissions which gave way to seemingly intergalactic light shows, allowing audience members to soak everything in — and collectively catch their breath, as they rapped along with West during every song.
Known for his tendency to ruffle feathers with his public rants, West kept it tame and inspirational last night, simply imploring all the visionaries and entrepreneurs to follow their dreams and to ignore the naysayers.
The show began to wind down with "Fade" and closed out with the angelic "Ultralight Beam." A single light shined down on West from above and the platform he had performed on for over 90 minutes finally descended down to earth and he vanished into darkness.
Although the technical issues delayed the show some, in a way it helped to further build the anticipation of a concert for the ages. With the light show, theatrics and ambiance in the arena alone, West delivered that and then some.