Kanye West Brings Grandiose Presence to Grand Rapids for Concert

Arts & Entertainment
Kanye West Brings Grandiose Presence to Grand Rapids for Concert

He came out at exactly 9:30 p.m. Precisely 90 minutes later, at 11:00 p.m., he finished. If one thing can be sure, Kanye West runs shows on his own terms.

This Tuesday night I attended a Kanye West show at the Van Andel Arena, and it was everything I expected.

Kanye performs live shows with an emphasis on only one thing: himself. Throughout the show, he remained the focal point, with no openers or contributing artists. Just Kanye. Additionally, he performed alone on a single, floating platform. This created an image of Kanye, in Christ-like resemblance, with a mob of floor attendees below him moving back and forth as his hovering stage moved back and forth. The image of fans chasing Kanye’s spaceship-like platform with their hands up caused almost religious undertones.

Some may call this display egotistical, and they may not be entirely wrong. In addition to the floating platform, above Kanye, a futuristic display of warm lights cast down, shining a God-like ethereal essence upon him. Also, industrial smoke machines produced a haze that coated the stadium. These factors built emphasis on the power of Kanye, especially as he belted his powerful lyrics to the crowd below him.

As far as content, Kanye played a wide variety of hits. Ranging from College Dropout, his first album, to The Life of Pablo, his most recent, Kanye covered material from just about all of his projects. Cutting out all additional artists on his songs, he only performed his parts of the music, even for songs he was originally featured as a guest on. Overall, he mostly played the hits, getting to all of the songs that everyone can sing along to.

One aspect of variety Kanye did provide to the simple, stripped down performance was an opportunity for audience participation. He often went quiet, holding his microphone to the audience to finish the line. Additionally, he often stopped a song right in the middle only to start it again, just because he felt like it. At one point, Kanye suspended the concert, calling out the facility members for roping off the general admission section in his usual casual ranting manor. This interactivity showed his willingness to play with the audience, while still maintaining all focus on himself.

Most of all, Kanye came to satisfy. Although the concert was centered entirely around him, that’s what fans paid to see. Ego aside, it can be certain that Kanye has the ability to entertain.