Inspiration is an interesting thing. Sometimes you are so full of it that you can’t imagine it disappearing, and other times you are so devoid of it that you question if it even exists. Luckily for your boy, I was recently baptized in Lake West and blessed by the presence of the self-proclaimed “god” Yeezus himself. With such a life changing experience, came a wave of inspiration that flooded every neuronic cell and formed this piece from the untapped depths of my mind.
I know a lot of people consider Kanye West to be an asshole that’s beyond full of himself (I mean who calls themselves a genius?), but that’s part of what makes him great and when it comes to music it can’t be denied that he is one of the most talented artists of our generation. So without further ado, I present My Dark Twisted Beautiful Yeezy Experience.
Friday July 10th 2015. It began as a typical Friday of the week. My friends had made their way to the capital city in order to witness what would arguably be the greatest performance of the Bluesfest music festival lineup. After getting in and figuring out what the plan was pre-Ye, we decided to head to a local bar in the Byward market and meet up with some friends for some drinks.
We called for two pitchers off the bat, split between the 3 of us to start (turn up!). My one friend orders a pretzel (really?) which I knew was a mistake waiting to happen; who orders pretzels from bars? But anyways, the drinks came, conversation flowed, and we pondered about what to expect from the show. As the pretzel from hell arrived, my friend immediately regretted her decision after the first bite and my reactionary laugh bellowed from the pit of my stomach.
More friends soon arrived and enjoyed our company before heading down to the festival to catch a chance at seeing Chance
the rapper. It’s about 6:50 pm when we get in line to enter the festival grounds. The line up was slammed body to body, but luckily we found a hole that let us by-pass the large group and get in quicker. Chance’s performance had already started and I could hear the tunes off Acid Rap well enough, so I decided to head over to the beer tent for a re-fuel to keep my buzz for Kanye’s set at 9.
Of course, by posting up at the beer tent, or probably the fact that I wore a pink polo (shoutout College Dropout Kanye), I got recognized by my friend Adrienne and a couple of other friends quickly. We connected for a bit, talked about our favourite Kanye songs and thought of when to make our way to the front. Being 6 feet tall definitely has it’s benefits for festival concerts and getting to a good position. Chance’s set had finished up at around 8, and by 8:20 we decided to make a move towards the front of the stage.
Festivals, in some ways, are akin to war. The sheer number of bodies within one central area makes it easy to lose allies, and the pushing through the crowd to the front makes it a hell of a lot easier to make even more enemies. Plus, with no ability to send out texts or phone calls, you’re literally stuck with who’s around you. Fortunately for me, my luck came in the clutch, and after losing a couple of friends on the mission to the front, I found another group of friends I knew that had a well established position close to the stage front. We all pushed a bit further with the new group and my buddy Paul yells back “See, there are no limits, watch I’ll get you guys through.” Which he did.
We finally got to a point in the crowd where we could see the stage, and not rile anyone else up. It was about 9:00pm and at this point it was just a waiting game for Kanye to grace the stage. One of the most unfortunate problems with festivals is the abundance of teenagers under 18 that surround you. They’re not all bad, and I was a teenager once too, so I get it, but it’s damn shame when you talk to a girl and halfway through the conversation realize she’s under 18. Then you just get hit with a wave of awkwardness, and decide to take the L and dead the conversation.
Now it’s 9:15 and the crowd is restless. Chants of “Kanye” in the form of the “Olé, Olé, Olé” song began to ring from the crowd. Beach balls were punched mid-air, water was being sprayed to cool down the
molly users crowd, and a cloud of smoke hovered over head. The heat begins amass and everyone is anxious for Kanye to take the stage. Rumours of Kanye cancelling were being spun around through the crowd and I held hope that it was just some BS being thrown out as a result of a restless imagination. My friends and I decided to guess what track will come on first. One of my homies, “Pubs” as we like to call him, guesses the first track will be stronger. I thought he’d be way off and guessed Power would be the first song up.
But man was I wrong, because after what felt like an eternity of angst, immediately shifted to joy and excitement as the lights went out and a robotic voice sang “Work it, make it, do it, makes us harder, better, faster stronger!” out from the stage’s speakers. Kanye had arrived and done so in his own unique fashion: About 20 minutes late, but ascending from a platform with smoke pouring out and a contraption of lights illuminating above him. It could be described as: a holy an entrance only Jesus himself could replicate.
The whole vibe of the crowd was lit. We all yelled “Let’s get lost tonight, you can be my black Kate Moss tonight!” as we elevated to the bass of the song. Within the first few minutes my entire shirt had become drenched due to the heat of the crowd’s reaction to the start of the show and I gave less than two F’s about it. It’s what I came to rage for. The bass was so hard hitting you could feel it resonating from the cavern of your chest to the inner most depths of your soul.
After the opening song, chants of “Yeezus” rang out and I was in tune with everyone around me. The next song came on and had everyone going wild. At one point I tried taking a photo, right as a couple buddies decided to hold a mosh pit meeting that caught me off guard and ended with my ass on the ground. A friend behind me helped get me back on my feet before I got trampled, and I got back to vibin’.
Hit after hit after hit: Kanye went through his catalog of bangers and I was loving every second of it. Even though I’m not a huge fan of his auto-tuned songs, I still enjoyed hearing them within his set. They were sequenced well and brought flow and a balance of energy to his performance. His hits ranged from; Power, to 4,5 Seconds, to Clique, to Theraflu (tell
Peter PETA my mink is draggin’ on the floor!), to Run this Town, to Heartless, to Niggas in Paris (so provocative in a lit crowd), to All Falls down and pretty much every other hit record Kanye has ever rapped on. Even got my faves Through the Wire, Jesus Walks and Can’t Tell Me Nothing which resulted in me losing my mind for 12 minutes.
At about halfway through the show we got a mini-rant from Kanye about how industry artists have been compromised by the money and how Kanye loves making music because it’s enjoyable. He ended it by yelling “But there’s only one motherfucking Kanye West!” followed by 15 seconds of silence before blasting Blood on the Leaves. The whole crowd went berserk! And the energy was intoxicating. It was like being euphorically high for the first time. Take one of your most amazing experiences and multiply it by 3 and that’s about the same level as experiencing a Kanye West show.
Another notable moment was when he teased us by saying “Only the real underground fans will know this next song. You’ve got to be a real underground fan of Kanye West to know this one…” and left us in silence to imagine what song could possibly be next. After a brief pause we all hear “She takes my money! When I’m in neeeeed!” Gold digger had us wylin’ out! Imagine thousands of people yelling “WE WANT PRE-NUP! WE WANT PRE-NUP!” at the top of their lungs. I remember looking to some random dude beside me whiles I yelled “my best friend said she used to fuck with Usher, I don’t care what none of y’all say I still love her!”
Some girl also got spat in the eye by some asshole who tried to shove his way to the front after getting in an argument with my boy, which probably ruined her experience (who does that though?), but other than that…
The show was an immaculate performance and as much of a religious experience as one could get without going to church. Somebody’s gotta figure out a way to travel back in time because if there is one part of my life that I would re-live, it would hands down be that night again. Even if at this very moment you, your friends, your grandma and your dog still believe Kanye West to be the biggest asshole on the planet, it’s never too late to find Yeezus and accept his beats into your life.