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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Kanye at the Golden1 Center, abruptly cancels set


He dropped the mic — literally.

I only wrote two notes before Kanye West’s doomed performance Saturday night.

The first note compared the Golden 1 Center to the baseball games I attended as a kid; vendors walked up and down the stairs screaming “ice cold lemonade” and rolling their R’s in “churros.” The second was about a fan’s outfit: she wore a white t-shirt with 20 or so floating Kanye heads. I noted she received compliments every time she went up and down the stairs to her seat.

But I should have written about what I heard over the media team’s walkies behind me: Kanye was still on his plane at 10 p.m., an hour after the show’s supposed start time. Or about the fans — fans like my friend who paid an exorbitant amount of money to sit in a seat so high I’m surprised her nose didn’t bleed. I should have written about the two young boys in their matching $40 Saint Pablo t-shirts, whom I later watched shuffle home, heads down, their mother repeatedly apologizing.

Or about Kanye’s giant floating stage, how it moved from side to side while a mob of fans followed him, in devotion, underneath his feet.

But instead I wrote about the hype, because — like the audience beneath his stage — it’s so easy to get caught up in it. So easy, in fact, that Kanye entangled himself.

He arrived on stage second to Kid Cudi — the first of the night’s many surprises (albeit, the only pleasant one). They sang “Beautiful Morning,” and the crowd went bezerk. Excitement subdued, however, when the two rappers hugged for an uncomfortably long period of time. Better yet, if you read any of Saturday night’s headlines before about 11:30 p.m., they read, “Beef between Cudi and West Expelled” and “Rappers Reconcile,” amongst others. Of course, these articles were buried miles deep in light of the night’s later drama.

Kid Cudi left the stage after they floated back to the front, leaving Kanye alone to rap “Wolves” and part of “Famous.” That is, before he did what Kanye does best: interrupt everyone — including himself. But an interruption isn’t complete without a rant. And so, for the sake of a complete Yeezy experience, he ranted about the following:

“Radio, f*ck you.”

Asked Jay Z’s hitmen not to aim at his head.

“Radio, f*ck you.”

Explained that radio is made of good people, but people who play all the wrong tracks.

“Radio, f*ck you.”

“Radio, f*ck you.”

Some incoherent commentary about Beyonce, Jay Z, Frank Ocean, MTV and Taylor Swift, emphasizing that they are great people (followed by, “we are ALL great people”), only to continue assailing them.

Declared that “feelings matter,” and middle America’s feelings were spoken for in the election.

“Radio, f*ck you.”

Explained he had similar feelings to middle America (cue audience throwing shoes, shirts, water bottles, etc.)

Asked someone (it sounded like “Joe the sound man”) to bring him back to the front. As he sailed above the audience on his throne, he said, “Let Ye be Ye.”

And then he dropped the mic — literally and figuratively.

This was not unexpected. Nothing from Saturday night was new to his fans, to the press, to the outsiders laughing at ticket holders for “paying to watch a child perform.” (Fortunately, Ticketmaster announced Sunday that refunds would be issued.)

But this has yet to impede on his dedicated fanbase. Amongst the crying (yes, crying) fans and riots, the man in front of me still bought a pair of $1,000 YEEZY’s.

Renowned music journalist Lisa Robinson writes in her memoir There Goes Gravity that Kanye stands for something his younger fans simply cannot understand; his rants and interruptions and cancelled sets are the most genuine embodiment of movement lost to our generation — of punk.

“When he stormed on stage during the 2009 MTV Awards I emailed him to say it was very punk rock. But no one else shared my appreciation. He was vilified; the President of the U.S. called him a jackass. He left the country for a year. But after all the hatred and the lunacy that came at Kanye, his own tirades and unpredictable antics, he once again made magnificent work,” Robinson writes.

And so, despite Kanye’s undeniably large ego and inconsiderate cancellation of shows, Robinson brings up an interesting point: maybe Kanye isn’t insane — he was simply born a few generations too late. Maybe we should, in fact, just let Ye be Ye.


Written by: Ally Overbay – arts@theaggie.org


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