By Levi Spring, Fresh Take –
A thick fog unfolds in front of my eyes as I walk into the main auditorium of the Van
Andel arena in downtown Grand Rapids. People begin pouring into their seats and excitement
flushes through the building as water rolls down my fingers from the cold beer in hand, Kanye is
Kanye West, the DJ, the rapper, the one and only. “Yeezus” is preparing to float out on
stage in front of thousands of screaming fans. The variety of people I witnessed attend the event
on recently in Grand Rapids should be the definition of variety. I saw plenty of old-heads (old
hip-hop fans), men with beards (including my own), teenagers running about, and I even saw a
mother with her two daughters walking into the concert. The fashion statements from the
attendees were also unique… Armani tuxedos to pajamas with flip-flops, and everything in
Grand Rapids has also been hosting the infamous Art Prize throughout downtown Grand
Rapids over the past couple weeks, so people attending the concert that arrived early enough to
tour the art projects, which are scattered throughout the city, were in for quite the night. All in
all, it was a beautiful, interesting, and enjoyable evening for citizens and concert-goers alike.
Kanye was an hour late to start the show, but for true Kanye fans, this was nothing new.
When the lights did finally kick off, the intense roar of the crowd showed their excitement and
anticipation expelled. Kanye was finally here, it was really happening, and as promised, it was
What else would Kanye open the show with, but a floating stage! It was an intriguing part
of the immaculate production for the show, Kanye strapped into a harness, tied to the stage,
floating over thousands of people in the audience. It truly was something that I, nor anyone else
in that room, had ever experienced before, “Yeezus” showed us the way. Lights underneath the
floating stage illuminated those in the crowd who were close beneath. They were jumping,
shouting, sweating, and crying tears of joy. Kanye performed a range of songs that stretched
from the early 2000s to current, as well as performing some unreleased demos.
The surprising part was when Kanye said, “Thank you.” He told the crowd he was
blessed to share that night and those moments in Grand Rapids with us. No rants, no cussing
anyone out, no call for revolution, just a simple “thank you” and he was on his way.
The lighting during the entirety of the performance never fully revealed Kanye’s face,
this I believe, was done on purpose. Kanye is not a normal human who stands under normal
lighting and does normal things; he is much more than that. He is man who lives before his time,
a prophet among men, a genius among pupils, a musician among rappers, an icon among people,
and a living legend to me.