In an age where many creatives scold their audiences for avid smartphone use during their concerts, one man and one man only, leaned in. Yes, Kanye West’s stunning ‘Saint Pablo’ tour and its floating stage are visceral and visually exciting — the gift of your favorite rapper literally floating above you for the entirety of his set is the kind of populist benevolence only Kanye “I Am A God” West would bestow on his fans. The other layer, of course, is that the show seems to be the first of its kind designed specifically with smartphones, social media posts, and short bursts of video in mind.
By now, you’ve either been to the ‘Saint Pablo’ tour, will attend later in the year for the second leg of dates he just announced, or have voraciously and jealously consumed enough social media about the shows to know exactly how they go down. Contrasting red, orange and gold lights create an atmosphere that looks incredible when pixelated, shimmers when condensed into shareable video, and offers unparalleled access to the fascinating facial expressions, dance moves, and general glorification that a Kanye West performance includes.
So while I had a pretty good idea of what Ye’s show at The Forum last night (one in a string of six in the LA area) would be like, I still wasn’t prepared for the power of his stunning visuals, or the unfathomable live energy and absolute compassion he displayed throughout the night.
Then, there’s the music.