Kanye West performed at KeyArena Wednesday, Oct. 19.
Kanye West packed KeyArena with a crowd of similarly-dressed but otherwise diverse young fans and followers Wednesday (Oct. 19).
Right before 9:30 p.m., the house lights suddenly cut off, phones came out, scattered “YEE-ZY” chants rose up and Pastor T.L. Barrett’s “Father I Stretch My Hands” blared over the public address system. The Barrett sample appeared on West’s album “The Life of Pablo,” on the track “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” which West followed with “Pt. 2” and “Famous.”
Unable to resist a tongue-in-cheek name drop in the song of Taylor Swift, with whom West is forever feuding, he then welcomed the crowd “to Saint Pablo.”
The Chicago rapper and producer masterfully organized the 90-minute-plus set that followed into suite-style mini-sets, performing from an industrial-steel platform suspended above the crowd. Adjacent light panels illuminated onlookers as they moshed and reveled below. (Huge props to the floating security team that professionally quelled anybody climbing on shoulders or getting remotely close to West).
Most Read Entertainment Stories
- Review: Backstreet Boys, in White River Amphitheatre show, bring back the nostalgia
- Agent: Rushdie off ventilator and talking, day after attack
- Actor and comedian Teddy Ray dies in Southern California
- ‘The 6:20 Man’ is the top national fiction bestseller
- 15 things to do in the Seattle area this weekend
Each suite felt perfectly chosen, reading like an abridged greatest hits from 2007’s “Graduation,” 2004’s “The College Dropout” (Jesus Walks”) and 2005’s “Late Registration” (“Touch the Sky”).
Emotions peaked with “Runaway,” followed by the crooning of “Only One” and a self-satirical “Love Kanye” interlude, which lightened the mood before he launched into the blissful maximalism of “Waves.”
Fans secretly hoping for some of West’s signature rants got them early. After “Famous,” he stopped Drake’s “Pop Style” mid-verse to discuss the politics of music, including comments about Jay-Z (his former partner in Watch the Throne) and West’s streaming music service, Tidal.
West then launched into a stretch of bangers and features — ScHoolboy Q’s “That Part,” “Facts,” “Mercy,” Chief Keef’s “Don’t Like,” “All Day,” “Black Skinhead” — interrupted by a mini-rant about his wife Kim Kardashian getting robbed in Paris — and ending with the still-triumphant “Can’t Tell Me Nothin” and the -anthemic-as-ever “Power.”
Up on his platform, West gave the impression of zoning out rather than projecting energy. He danced through a field of red laser beams on “Fade” and closed with the redemptive, gospel-like “Life of Pablo” opener “Ultralight Beam.”
One beam of light shot down from the rafters as fans closed their eyes and raised their arms in praise of one of the greatest artists and performers of this generation of popular music.