I like to think I’m a fairly smart person. That said, I often make some very stupid decisions. When I bought two tickets to Kanye West’s Saint Pablo tour in St. Paul the day before I had a Russian test an noon, I was assuming I was making a very poor choice. I am glad to say that I was very wrong. In just under two hours, Yeezus did more for my outlook on then I could have expected.
While Yeezy is obviously one of the most acclaimed recording artists of the generation, that isn’t why I wanted to see him. I paid to see a show. Prior to Ye’ the most recent shows I had seen were Flo Rida and Elton John. I wanted to go see someone in between, an incredible artist with a lot of personality. With respect to both, West blew them out of the water.
I know it sounds like hyperbole, but the sheer spectacle of a man with Kanye’s exuberance of performing combined with a stage like none other was awesome (in the literal sense). Watching the stage float over the floor like a magic carpet with a moving light system above set to fall toward the ground at certain times inspired awe in me, and I wasn’t even in a particularly good seat.
The thing that Yeezus catches the most flack for is his self confidence, often referred to as narcissism. Is he self absorbed? Absolutely. But that’s part of his art. Seeing the man who has refereed to himself as a god who is going to run for president in 2020 (real talk, Trump getting this far makes me think it’s possible) flying with power and confidence made a lot of his lyrics really click for me. I found bravery in his bravado.
My fight with depression has been getting steadily easier, but that confidence in a man talking about saying what he wants and still climbing to the top really struck a nerve. In The Life of Pablo, there is a prayer for anyone who thinks they’re not worth enough. That’s me guys. Of course I’ve heard the words and I knew what it meant, but the live experience made it so, so much stronger. Say what you will about Kanye in his personal life, I truly believe he deserves everyone’s respect.
The challenge I face now is an overwhelming desire to see more converts in the hopes of further shows in the hopes of another such revelation. Sure I’m going to see MC Lars, my favorite indie artist of all time, in November, but I don’t know if that will be the same. I’ll almost certainly meet him there, but I doubt he’ll have that imagery because he’s an indie hip hop artist who makes songs about Edgar Allen Poe and Pokemon GO. There is no way he, even with MC Chris and Mega Ran will have a budget like that. Maybe it will be a different kind of experience.
I’m going to meet an artist I’ve been listening to since I was 13 and tweeting at since I got on Twitter. That’ll be great, and who knows, maybe that will change me too. I don’t just love Kanye for his music, or his persona, or even his unparalleled showmanship. I love Kanye for opening my mind to the power of live music’s transformative powers.