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West meets east: Kanye West’s “TLOP” tour hits Atlanta

“Twenty years from now, 30 years from now, if y’all are still alive, I want y’all to remember this night, this moment,” Kanye said midway through his stop at Atlanta, Georgia on September 12. Was he right? Possibly, as days after the concert promoting West’s latest album, “The Life of Pablo,” I’m still not exactly sure what I witnessed. Was it enjoyable? Absolutely! But at the same time, it was probably one of the most bizarre and nonsensical experiences of my entire life. I suppose that’s one thing you can say about Yeezy though: the man sure as hell knows how to put on a show for the memories. Here’s a rundown on what you missed on easily one of the most insane concert experiences in the world.
1. The Stage
The first thing that hit me when entering Philips Arena in Atlanta before the show was the set up: a dense fog from smoke machines and, ahem, other sources, permeated the room, leaving me nearly blind when looking for my seat in the stadium. While there was the typical stadium seating, the entire floor was also filled up to the brim with diehard fans of Kanye. You might be thinking, “Where on Earth would West perform then?” Well, as there might as well be a saying for at this point, where there’s an over complicated and ridiculous way to do something, you bet your butt Kanye will do it.
Transported on an elevated and motorized platform above the audience, Kanye was literally above his fans as he made his way up and down the stadium for each of his songs. While some might find this arrogant and pretentious, I, much like many others, found it to be, ahem, “sooo Kanye!” Everywhere his platform hovered above, a raging mosh pit of fans followed closely by, which provided for quite the show within the show itself.
Despite sounding like a great way for fans to climb up onto the platform to meet the rapper, the stop at Atlanta was actually the first example of someone attempting this during West’s performance of “Power.” Thankfully, no one was hurt, but it was pretty clear that the unwanted passenger was chewed out by Kanye after the rapper noticed him attempting to pull himself up.
2. The Setlist
While Kanye’s antics outside of the recording booth might be hit or miss for some, most can agree that his music easily makes up for it. In fact, the set list for the “Life of Pablo’s” stop at Atlanta made me realize how much of a solid discography West has. Boasting around thirty-two songs total, Kanye performed most of the songs from “Life of Pablo,” his most recent album, opening with “Father Stretch My Hands,” hitting fan favorites like “Waves” and “Highlights,” and finishing with “Ultralight Beam.”
If you’re a fan of Kanye’s older material though, don’t worry too much. He pretty much played at least one song from each of his albums. From “Stronger” and “Power,” to “Black Skinhead” and “Heartless,” there was plenty for both newer and older fans to appreciate.
That being said, there were a few questionable song choices and absences. The inclusion of three covers of other artists like Drake and Chief Keef felt pretty out of place, as well as the disappointing lack of “Saint Pablo” and “FML,” my two personal favorites from “Pablo,” was lame as well.
3. The Structure (Or Lack Of It)
Kanye seems like one of those artists that whatever they say is going to happen, happens, so it is only natural that the rapper essentially did whatever he wanted to do while up on stage. While a setlist was set up in advance, the show was completely at the mercy of how West was feeling. If he was feeling good, the song would go as planned, and if not, the song would be completely restarted, cut short, or flat out skipped. While the latter didn’t happen too much, Kanye did restart a couple songs over due to the lack of audience participation, which is pretty much unheard of in your average concert.
West also stopped midway through “Only One” to deliver a five minute speech dedicated to “all those entrepreneurs out there.” While not quite as extreme as other speech breaks have reported to have been—for example, he did a 21 minute one in Washington D.C. about his mother in the afterlife—it was still entertaining in a strange way to hear Kanye tell everyone that he “dies on the internet everyday” so we can feel better about ourselves. Okay, Yeezy, whatever helps you sleep at night.
4. The Merchandise
Have you really gone to a concert if you haven’t bought a highly overpriced t-shirt? Kanye’s Life of Pablo tour would think so, as there was plenty of high priced merchandise for everyone, and by God was it expensive. While I haven’t gone to many concerts, I can handle shelling out a little more than usual for a shirt to remember the show by, but the prices for Kanye’s performance were more insane than I ever would have imagined.
T-shirts started at $40 for the default design, but if you wanted a long sleeve shirt or hoodie, you’d have to toss out a whopping $90. I found the designs questionable as well, but this is coming from a guy who wouldn’t ever wear a shirt with Kim Kardashian playing tennis in a bikini or an airbrushed portrait of Kanye’s deceased mother to school, so that might just be me.

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