How Kanye West Changed the Message of His Yeezus Tour in Dallas

Categories: Last Night

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From a previous tour stop, courtesy of Kanye West.
A foreboding, shadowy and sinister figure lurks at the edge of an enormous white mountain top. Buzzing synths permeate the arena, and the masked man of the hour saunters below. "Hold My Liquor," one of the standout tracks of Kanye West's most recent album, stirs over the ravenous crowd. He performs the song from the stage's point, trying to no avail to escape the gaze of the demon lurking behind him. It's chilling, an unsettling illustration of man's constant struggle between good and evil.

It is not overdone. As grandiose and theatrical as the Yeezus tour is, at its core it's starkly minimalistic, confrontational, evocative. It's a glimpse into the inner workings of the mind of a misunderstood man. And though it's off-putting that he says it every 15 minutes, you can't deny the man's a genius, especially not after seeing this show.

See also: Live from the Yeezus screenings earlier this year

Kanye West admitted last week at the Kansas City stop of his Yeezus tour, which only sold 4,500 to an arena built to accommodate 19,000, that he's prone to saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. That's a big crime when your every word echoes across the vast expanse of the global media machine. His big mouth and bigger megaphone help make Kanye the most divisive figure in contemporary pop culture. That's not changing - he may care less about having a congenial public persona than any pop star in history.

What you might not expect is that the surprising message ringing out during his packed Dallas tour stop Friday was that he wants the people listening to his music to champion themselves as much as he champions himself. He didn't deliver a self-serving rant about the state of his current shoe deal or his difficulty breaking into high fashion. It was here, in North Texas, that he decided it was time to take a different approach.

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From a previous tour stop, courtesy of Kanye West.

Arriving early was definitely the move, but many did not. It's clear to see that Dallasites are ill-equipped to handle mildly icy conditions. Though a crowd of at least 50 swarmed American Airlines Center's front doors in the minutes before they opened, the venue didn't really fill out until well into West's first few songs. Opener Kendrick Lamar, however, had plenty crowd (at least ⅔ of the arena's capacity) to work with during his opening set.

In his last three stops into town, we've watched Lamar go from mid-size music hall to large amphitheater and now to an arena stage. This kind of progression in about year's time is fair to classify as a meteoric rise. Dallas rap fans will remember this most recent performance as the night we watched Kendrick Lamar become a Grammy-award nominee right before our very eyes. The announcement of Lamar's seven 2013 nods including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album (Yeezus was also recognized for the latter) would go public about halfway through his opening set this Friday.

For the first time, we had the pleasure of watching Lamar with the accompaniment of a full live band, and it was definitely worth the wait. This is the way that these records were meant to be heard live. "m.A.A.D. city" absolutely shreds as a guitar riff, delivering extra goosebumps to the overall dark and sinister spirit of the record.

Lamar's video package backdrop looped dreamy, slow motion Compton city-scapes like colorfully adorned pronails spread over concrete slabs. There was the California sun kissing arms slouched out of open Cadillac windows, and blunt smoke wafting from dandelion-addled porch stoops. From his commanding performance, it's clear to see why the entire genre of rap music is currently living in the shadow of Lamar's debut album, just over a year after its release. Hopefully you've taken advantage of his multiple stops through Texas since then, because it's his progression has been a very special thing to witness so closely.

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11 comments
tonytrex1627
tonytrex1627

Rich black man is not allowed to speak his mind 

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

It's funny how he spends millions of dollars promoting himself and trying to get his message across - but still feels "misunderstood".

I wonder what his mother did wrong - that even with all that money and fame, he still feels like such a sad little nobody.



Fred-dorfman76
Fred-dorfman76

The only thing more ridiculous than Kanye Wests pretentious music, is the never ending procession of ding bats who call him a genius.

monstruss
monstruss

Remember folks; he won't go away until we all decide to ignore him. Only you can make Kanye West go away.

jonfromtjs
jonfromtjs

the arena was 60-70% full on a night so miserable the W was without power.  let's not make a story where one doesn't exist.  4k people?  come on: there were 4k people on my side of the lower bowl.


Kanye is our generations Neil Young.  chasing a muse, simultaneously challenging the confines of pop music while succssfully working within its machine scoring hits.


It was an incredible concert.  I don't really like another artist that is nearly as "mainstream" as kanye. i find him to be fascinating, even if don't want to sit and have a beer with the guy.


and yeezus is a grand slam of an album.  no way around it.

Hobobonobo
Hobobonobo

You wasted three page on Yeezus? Jesus...smh.

lzippitydoo
lzippitydoo

Kanye and his views are a cancer and unfortunately get national coverage. Surprised even 4,000 (out of 19,000 seats) showed up - must have been free tickets! Whenever he opens his mouth it is racist and does nothing but add adverse publicity to any related issue. Wouldnt have even known he was here but Kim K showed up!

halldecker
halldecker

Should the "... The American dream" paragraph be in quotes?   Is it a quote from the show,  or your gushing writer's personal philosophy.

If it's not a direct quote,  please have an editor take a minute to explain the difference.

 



kevan.irsch
kevan.irsch

@jonfromtjsactually the article mentioned there being 4,500 people at the Kansas City show, not Dallas. pot, meet kettle.

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