The sign of an amazing song, according to Me'Shell Ndegéocello, is "the moment you play the first three notes and people know the song." Last weekend Kanye West didn't even get to the second note of "Runaway" before the crowd inside Seattle's Key Arena lost their shit. With one finger on a drum machine, Yeezus instantly struck the hearts of hundreds. Singlehandedly, the biggest cheer I have ever heard from one piano note.
Kendrick Lamar, accompanied by a full band, used his opening slot to hype up the crowd. After K Dot rocked a few bangers for the hundreds of kids in TDE sweatshirts and running shoes, he quickly disappeared, leaving everyone thirsty. Following another long hour of beer lines and preemptive Instagrams, the lights faded to black and a grumbling, infectious synth filled the packed arena.Kanye rocked the crowd for a solid two and a half hours. He came out donning a disco ball mask that stayed on even while he ran the length of the stage: an enormous ice berg that eventually split open with a flash of smoke and lights. He changed outfits four times. He wore three different masks and became ensconced by a troupe of nymphs in skin-colored body suits who lifted him in savior-like fashion during "I Am A God."What would you expect? With his last two albums, 2010's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" and 2013's "Yeezus," the Chicago-born musician has made it clear that he stays on some grandiose, bigger than rap, one man show shit.At one point, there was even some kind of mountain-goat/evil spirit with fur crawling across the ice berg, while Kanye, undisturbed, rocked the mic some 50 ft. below. Did I mention the surprise visit from Jesus? A white guy in a robe told Kanye:"I'm not here to punish. I'm here to make dead people alive. I'm here to tell you to follow the Light."The best part of the show was that it was a performance. Unlike most rappers who juggle duties between their DJ and hype man, Kanye spent those hours up there alone. Despite the nymphs, who finished the night in black paint (were they even naked?) he broke down and wept during "Dear Mama." He gave the audience emotion, using the four minutes of "Through the Wire," not to rap, but shake hands with the crowd.Personal highlight? Hearing "Coldest Winter" for the first time (that's how hard I slept on "808.") Kanye barley spoke to the crowd all night. But he recalled the frosty morning in London when he learned his mother had past away."They told me I would never be able to talk to her again. They told me my best friend was gone," Kanye said, before belting the chorus.Photos courtsey: Zach Peters