Kanye West-- Boston, MA-- November 17th, 2013
m.A.A.d city (2nd verse)
The Art of Peer Pressure (intro only)
Fuckin' Problems (A$AP Rocky cover, did his verse twice in a row)
Swimming Pools (Drank)
Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe (remix)
m.A.A.d city (1st verse)
Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst
Send it Up
I Don't Like (Chief Keef cover)
I Am a God
Can't Tell Me Nothing
Hold My Liquor
I'm in It
Blood on the Leaves
Lost in the World
Through the Wire
Diamonds (Rihanna cover w/ Diamonds from Sierra Leone intro)
All of the Lights
What I expected to be a good time ended up being absolutely incredible and one of the most special shows I've been to this year.
My friend and I were running a bit late to the show and ended up getting there about 5 minutes before the show was supposed to start. We get in the venue and find out that our seats were roped off. After asking a couple of employees what the deal was, we were told to go to guest services to get our tickets switched out. The people in guest services explained that Kanye had "had a dream to switch the stage setup" which led to our section being blocked off because it was now behind the stage. Well Kanye's dream ended up paying off big time for me because our seats got switched from the balcony to the first row above the floor. I was rendered completely speechless. I went from having nosebleed tickets in South Boston that cost $40 to having prime seats right off the floor that were going for $180 handed to me for free. Needless to say, I would like to thank Kanye's dreaming for making this possible and may he have many more brilliant visions in his sleep for years to come.
The shock hadn't quite worn off when Kendrick Lamar took the stage about 5 minutes later. Kendrick Lamar has become my favorite modern rapper over the past year following the release of the near-masterpiece good kid, m.A.A.d city, so naturally I was pumped to get the chance to see him live. His live performance was about what I expected as he displayed his rare skill on the mic and had a lot of energy while doing so. His flow is a lot less distinct live, but it doesn't really take that much away because his delivery is still fluid and razor-sharp. He made great use of a live band that made the songs distinctly different from the studio versions. The band made the mellow moments more subtle and the upbeat moments more powerful. The 1st verse of "m.A.A.d city" particularly benefited from the band as the guitar intro made the dropping of the beat and the start of that monstrous verse that much more intense. It did irk me that he didn't play some of his songs all the way through (I'll give him a pass on "Sing About Me/I'm Dying of Thirst" because it's almost 11 minutes long, but the other ones he cut short could've have easily been played all the way through) and that he used a backing track instead of actually rapping on some of the really fast parts of his songs (the end of "Backseat Freestyle", "Poetic Justice".) While not being quite as impressive as his studio material, Kendrick Lamar is still a damn good performer who has claimed his rightful place at the top of the hip-hop hierarchy.
After a decently long wait, Kanye West came storming onto the stage. I've only recently became a fan of his music thanks to his newest record Yeezus. My enjoyment of Yeezus led me to reevaluate his discography and realize that I'd been missing out on some special music over the past decade. I really didn't know what to expect from his live show, but safe to say as soon as he went on I went into an almost-trance like state. Say what you want about his antics away from music, but Kanye West is a fucking showman. He absolutely tore up the TD Garden with an almost two-hour set with consistent energy and some of the most elaborate stage setups I've ever seen. The set was broken into five parts: fighting, searching, falling, rising and finding. Each part of the setlist was accompanied with songs that West felt fit these themes which gave the set an incredible flow all the way through. The set went from a pissed-off intro ("On Sight", "New Slaves") to a dreary mid-section ("Coldest Winter", "Heartless") before ending on a very upbeat note ("Good Life", "Bound 2".) The twists and turns in tempo the set took made it a roller-coaster ride of emotional depth unlike anything I've ever seen before. Adding to the dense, grandiose nature of the setlist, was the bonkers stage setup and theatrics he had. The stage was gigantic with a long ramp that extended about halfway onto the floor, a giant circular video screen on-top and a huge mountain backdrop that served as the focal point of the stage setup. At various points of the show, West had these veiled women wearing flesh-colored bodysuits march around the stage and even pick him up during "I Am a God". It was definitely a strange thing to have as a part of show, but it added this really eerie and unique atmosphere to the performance. There was a lot of other cool side things throughout that further added to the spectacle including the pyro/light show during "All of the Lights", a yeti-like creature complete with red-glowing eyes coming out during "Hold My Liquor" and of course, a man dressed as Jesus coming out during "Jesus Walks" to pray with him (Jesus made another another appearance at the end of the set as all the veiled women and West sat in a line and bowed to him at the top of the mountain.) West capped off the night by doing one of the coolest things I've ever seen at a show by giving someone in the crowd his mic when he was walking off the stage. Kanye is an over-the-top guy with an unlimited amount of confidence in his art and his live performance perfectly conveys that. I'll happily dole out big bucks to see Yeezus Christ again in the future. He may not be an actual god, but his performance last night sure as hell was godlike.
Random Side Notes:
-When walking to the show, my friend and I heard a taxi blaring "Angel of Death" by Slayer. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.
-West performed most of the set wearing various bedazzled masks. Because of this, these highly intoxicated girls that were sitting next to me thought it was an imposter and kept yelling "fuck you" and "that's not Kanye!" before eventually leaving and never coming back about 45 minutes into the set. 15 minutes or so later, West ripped the mask off and didn't play with one for the rest of the night. This provided me with a lot of entertainment because it was blatantly clear long before he ripped the mask off that it was in fact Kanye West performing, not an imposter. Cocaine is a hell of a drug...
- About 15-20 minutes after Kendrick Lamar got off-stage, an African-American lady that was sitting next to me randomly stated to a worker at the TD Garden that Kanye wasn't on-stage yet because he was running on "colored people time" and that "black people are late to their own funeral".
-The same lady kept telling my friend and I that we could get free drinks from her brother that worked at the venue. I wish I had a dollar for every time she told me to "go see Barry in section 20, he'll hook you up".
-There was this random guy on the floor who was dancing like a maniac throughout . I don't if he was intoxicated or just super energetic, but this dude was GROOVING like nobody's business for a long-ass time without stopping. God bless that man, I've never seen more colorful or spastic dancing in my entire life.
Kendrick Lamar 8.5/10
Kanye West 9.5/10
11/28 Run the Jewels
12/27 Four Year Strong