Kanye West Always Soars Highest, Even at the X Games
Photos by Marco Torres
It's not the fact that lots of people seem to hate Kanye West that's interesting, it's that they seem to hate him the most when he does what we all wish we could. I mean, if any of your friends spoke truth to power, called out the establishment on their bullshit, or married the girl of his or her dreams, you'd rightfully like that Facebook status. It was that last one that's had people in a frenzy lately, because how dare he have a badass wedding? Who does he think he is anyway?
You'd think by the amount of people sharing the New York Post's "hilarious" West/Kardashian wedding takedown that people must really, really hate Yeezus right now, so much so that no one would pay money to see him live. That's ludicrous, right?
Except that yeah, despite the amount of money ESPN spends on it and the amount of airtime they give it, this year's X Games were just a really long opening act to Kanye's first performance as a married man, one that had people risking bodily injury just to catch a glimpse of the man himself.
It's the kind of thing that's sure to infuriate someone.
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Before BMX Big Air had finished, the Austin360 Amphitheater was already at capacity for Kanye's performance. That's right, people chose to wait in line then sit in the amphitheater for hours rather than watch the athletic competition that was supposed to be a much bigger deal than a Kanye show. Once the venue ran out of capacity, people lined the area around the amphitheater, sometimes four or five people deep while others took to the nearby grandstands, hanging out on the metal walkways, and some even standing on the handrails 10-plus feet off the ground.
It's the type of behavior that you assume security would frown upon, but everyone seemed pretty cool with it. I guess an extreme event lends itself to extreme Kanye viewing.
For those too lazy to go through the minimal effort it took to get around security, there was the option to watch his performance on the giant screens around the Circuit of the Americas complex. Hey, it may not be like seeing the show in person, but it was arguably a smarter option than sitting in post-X-Games parking-lot traffic.
Those thousands who stuck around, either seeing him in person or digitally, were rewarded with a show that was the most "normal" Kanye concert in a while. Sure, there was a massive screen and some parts of Mount Kanye, and he did wear one of those fancy masks he likes so much, but this was pretty much a greatest-hits show with no storyline.
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Marriage hasn't softened Kanye yet, and things kicked off with a bunch of his bangers. "On Sight" is a great song, but nothing quite gets a crowd in to a show from the first beat than starting things off with "Black Skinhead." He should strongly consider doing that all the time.
In fact, as much as I enjoyed the artistry of the Yeezus tour, and as much as I champion the idea that Kanye really should do whatever moves him creatively, this performance did make me long for a more stripped down, straight-ahead Kanye show. I mean, sure, all the songs he's playing now as part of this run of festival dates existed in the Yeezus performance, but it was kind of nice to skip through all the production and get straight into the music.
I mean, come on, when you've spent all day in the sun and don't think you have any more energy, "I Don't Like" is like drinking 20 Red Bulls at once.
Shoutout to ESPN for putting on such a good opening act. I'm not just talking Bad Religion (funny and rocking as always) or Mac Miller (shockingly good) either; the entire X Games experience is pretty dope, and for all the jokes I've made at its expense, I hope they keep it in Austin for a bit. It's super fun.
After this run of Summer dates, Kanye will most likely finish up his new album and then begin planning another elaborate tour to share it with everyone. I'm sure whatever he ends up deciding on will be fascinating and exciting and will probably piss off someone, somewhere, because that's just sort of what he does.
And no matter what he does, there will be those that wait in line to see it. And if they have to climb over portable toilets and stand on some handrails to do it, well, you do what you have to do to see Yeezus, even if you piss off a few people along the way.
After all, what would Kanye do?
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