Photo credit @PyrexPeas.
This week has been monumental in terms of the personal and musical lives of both Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. Earlier this week, Kanye West launched his Yeezus tour in Seattle, he proposed to Kim Kardashian at AT&T Park in San Francisco and it was the 11th year anniversary of Ye’s infamous car accident. For Kendrick, he celebrated the 1-year anniversary of the release of his critically-acclaimed good kid, m.A.A.d city album, which is showing that he and that LP are starting to gain a sense of measurable longevity.
Photo credit @IBN Jasper.
As Kendrick Lamar sets the tone as the opener of the Yeezus tour, his charismatic performance of songs like “m.A.A.d City” and “Compton” easily pull you into the emotion of each song. Even when he performed the remix verse from “B*tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” the accomplishments he’s listed in the song seem to take on a bigger significance. In a rare performance of “Sing About Me”, he declares that the song was dedicated to “all of the fallen soldiers.” Also, while watching Kendrick’s set, you can’t help but to notice his stage presence is reminiscent of Kanye. Like Yeezy, King Kendrick will accent his words with emotional, spastic movements and Kanye takes it ten times farther with similar theatrics. As you realize these details, it’s like Kendrick may have been a perfect fit for this tour, not specifically sonically, but for what the two artists thirst for creatively.
Photo credit @Don C.
Between Kendrick and Kanye’s set, there was about a 30-minute transition period which included the rolling out of a huge, white mountain prop as an alternate stage. Harmonic chanting signaled 12 women acting as Kanye’s disciples to come to the stage and prompted everyone to run back to their seats from the concession stands as the lights dimmed. Before Kanye made it to the stage, you can hear him on a track saying “I am not here right now, I am not home,” presumably from a new track entitled “I Am Not Here”. The whirring at the beginning of “On Sight” quickly replaces the mystery track as Ye makes his grand entrance. From his triangular, white stage to the mountain, he’d perform a range of songs from Yeezus. One of the more emotional pieces of the night was Kanye performing “Coldest Winter” from 808s and Heartbreak. To thousands upon thousands of concertgoers, he detailed the moment he found out his mother passed away and stated that the song was written for her as he transitions in to the song. Alternatively, one of the most inspiring parts of the Yeezus tour was when Ye started to speak to the audience. If repeated on the internet, the intended tone of what he said would be missed and sound like a typical rant to be forgotten in two days. But, in person, hearing about how creativity is something that should never be suppressed and how the media is attacking him personally, you finally start to understand why Kanye West does what he does.
Photo credit @IBN Jasper.
And for the current fans wishing for the “old” Kanye, he does indeed perform songs like “Through The Wire” and “Good Life”. Just before he starts “Jesus Walks”, a Jesus lookalike emerges from the mountain and removes Ye’s crystal-studded Maison Martin Margiela mask and jacket before he can continue with “Jesus Walks”. Though the last official song performed was “Bound 2,” the final event of the tours has he and his 12 Disciples humbly bowing to Jesus from the base of the mountain prop as a loop from “On Sight,” taken from the Holy Name of Mary Choral Family’s “Sermon (He’ll Give Us What We Really Need),” repeated plays ending the show on a prayer.