I wouldn’t say that Kanye West put on a concert at TD Gardens this past Sunday; instead he gave one of the most intriguing performances I have ever witnessed. Prior to this tour, I’m not sure I knew the difference.
There’s the standard concert formula – openers perform first, minor stage adjustments are made, and quickly the main musician comes out with sprawling energy, visual aid in the background, yet surely not in focus.
Yeezy’s “minor adjustments” included disassembling the original area Kendrick Lamar performed on and rolling forward a giant stage piece resting under a black cloak – all of which took about 30 minutes to complete. What was hiding beneath that sheet?
Oh… right… a mountain. A giant, three-level peak that was utilized in several scenes often involving other actors and actresses. Though “actors” might seem like a questionable term, there doesn’t appear to be a more appropriate way to describe them. While Kanye performed several songs from his vast library of music, wildly different events unfolded around him that often involved a cast of characters. A group of women joined him on stage multiple times, sometimes in white robes, and other times in barely any clothing at all. They formed different shapes, were adjusted in a prop-like manner during “I Am a God,” and even moved together to become a throne for him to sit on.
At one point, a black, furry creature appeared on stage and followed Kanye until taking up residence on the mountainside. Finally, when the mountain split apart in the middle of the show, a man dressed up as Jesus walked over to Kanye and touched his head before the song “Jesus Walks” began blaring across the speakers.
Needless to say some of the decisions, though artistically driven, could be questionable in respect to religious values. The mixing of rap music and religious objects or symbols may be frowned upon, but, nevertheless, Kanye provided an interesting, thought-provoking act that falls much in line with the way movies bring people out of their comfort zones in order to think critically.
There are so many aspects of the show, images and acts alike, which could be analyzed in order to display what ideas Yeezus was attempting to provide for the audience. In continually wearing four unique, stylish masks leading up to the point when he finally showed his bare face for the Jesus actor, Kanye probably meant to show that Jesus is the only one who can truly see who we are inside, and no matter what facades we put on, God can see through them. The black creature could represent how darkness may always be present in life, but just as Kanye generally ignores the creature during the show, we as people still have to perform to the best of our abilities in the presence of adversity. Although Kanye raps “Power” at the top of the mountain near the beginning of the concert, he finishes with his reverent bowing towards the Jesus character who stands at the top of the rock. He might act like an ignorant fool sometimes, but he seems to know his place in the grand scheme of things.
The Yeezus Tour felt like going to a BC dining hall and finding out that Legal Seafood would be preparing my meal; I expected food, I just never could have predicted the level of quality I would receive. Love it or despise it, accept it or reject it, the Yeezus Tour creates something epic that cannot be ignored. It is what every artist should strive to do – stop giving concerts and start producing spectacles.Images via Tumblr.