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The Dose: Views from the pit, a Kanye West concert experience

The Dose: Views from the pit, a Kanye West concert experience

The Dose: Views from the pit, a Kanye West concert experience
September 24
13:34 2016

Imani Pinckney

This summer, when Kanye West announced the Saint Pablo Tour for the American Airlines Center in Dallas, I bought my tickets the hour they dropped. I have been a Kanye fan ever since the third grade and looking back, it was kind of inappropriate for me to have watched the “Gold Digger” music video, however, it still ignited my lifelong love for one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time.

After getting off the DART train on Thursday, the crossing guard allowed pedestrians to cross the street and enter the center. As we approached it, the crossing guard said, “I’m just gonna let y’all know now, and y’all are the only people I’m going to say this to, Kanye ain’t going to be here until 9:30 p.m.”

Unsurprised, because I researched and read concert reviews beforehand, I continued my journey inside.

Once I made it out of the unforgivable Texas heat and into the intense concert lobby, nostalgia ensued. People were everywhere. The concession lines were short, but if you had a knack for waiting in long lines, the merchandise tables were the place to be. Each table was lined with people eager to purchase pricey memorabilia.

Once I retrieved my orange leopard-print wristband, I headed to the ground floor — a.k.a. the pit, because there was no traditional stage, rather a floating one. Kanye fans chatted in groups, couples and singles. We all came with the purpose of seeing the man everyone loves to hate.

While waiting, ominous music was accompanied by loud bass and white smoke blasted arbitrarily. This all helped to create a dark and sinister scenery.

A diligent fan sits in the pit for the Saint Pablo concert to start. This was what most of the attendees were doing before the performance began. Imani Pinckney

A diligent fan waits in the pit for the Saint Pablo Tour to commence. This was what most of the attendees were doing from 8 to 8:30 p.m. Imani Pinckney

The time for the show was originally slated for 8 p.m., but roughly 30 minutes later, visible crewmen climbed up ropes and fans in the pit began chanting, “Yeezy! Yeezy! Yeezy!” At 9:30 p.m., lights dimmed and the floating stage lit up when my favorite rapper appeared, performing the intro to “Father Stretch My Hands.” The crowd started shrieking and singing along.

Next, Kanye rapped “Pt. 2,” featuring the “I got broads in Atlanta” rapper Desiigner, where the stage initiated movement. Once the stage moved, so did the audience. Screaming, shoving and jumping were common actions of participants in the pit. Being pushed by others to follow the stage actually kept me alert that night.

The notorious song “Famous” followed, with Kanye allowing fans to sing Rihanna’s parts — several of which interpolate Nina Simone’s “Do What You Gotta Do.” The song suddenly paused and Kanye spoke about fame from his perspective. “The point of being an artist is to say how you feel [and] not having any consequences,” he declared. He continued the song.

At that point, it seemed like Yeezus himself would perform “The Life of Pablo” tracklist in order. But Kanye erupted into his verse from Drake’s song “Pop Style” along with his feature on Schoolboy Q’s “That Part.” After those verses, West proceeded the “Pablo” medley with the song “Facts.” Subsequently, the crowd went nuts when he rapped some of his older hits like “Mercy,” “All Day” and “I Don’t Like.”

“All Day,” in particular, uses the N-word over 40 times, which would normally be upsetting on a regular day, except non-Black people rapped all of the lyrics, including the taboo pejorative. I did not care because I knew it would happen anyways.

Saint Pablo

Kanye West appears before an excited crowd, performing some of his more recent songs as well as his pre-established classics. Imani Pinckney

Thereafter, “Black Skinhead,” “N—-s in Paris,” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and “Power” were all played, followed by a brief intermission. Orange lights flashed and abstract synths sounded off before West’s return with “Blood on the Leaves,” “Freestyle 4” and “Jesus Walks.” Witnessing the entire arena brighten, thanks to fans flashing lights from their phones, was intoxicating, especially because it occurred during the classic song of the same name. Experiencing the chaos that ensued when the stage moved again was exhilarating. After another intermission, Kanye performed “Wolves,” another “Life of Pablo” reprise.

As 10:30 p.m. came along, Kanye serenaded us with “Runaway,” asking if we were “having a good time tonight.” Kanye gleefully recognized a fan’s poster of him and his mother. He then gave words of wisdom about failure. “Not being scared to say something, that’s how you control your aspirations,” he said. “They make you scared to dream. They make you scared to fail.”

West went on about how to turn failure into something positive.

“I’m gone fail. I’m gone keep failing,” West proclaimed. “That’s what happens when you try some shit, you fail. The [most] successful person is usually the one with the most failures. Let no one distract you. God speaks to his prophets. Don’t let common thought distract an extraordinary vision.”

Kanye passionately performed his beautiful dedication to his daughter, “Only One.” The crowd squished together closely once Kanye, lying flat on the stage, rapped his comical “I Love Kanye” track. At this moment, I became aware of how hot and sweaty we all were. It was intense.

Following “Waves” and “Touch the Sky,” he performed three penultimate hits: “All of the Lights,” “Good Life” and a remix of “Stronger.”

West concluded the night with “Ultralight Beam,” where the stage lowered and security guarded the end of the pit since he was exiting the stage. And like all concerts, the exiting process was hectic to say the least. Nonetheless, I finally experienced a Kanye West concert, which is always an event to be celebrated. The Dallas concert on Saint Pablo Tour was definitely a success.

Featured Image: Many fans raised their hands toward the ultra light beam in the ceiling, when Kanye West’s song of the same name started playing. Imani Pinckney

@imanipinckney

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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