By Jeremy Julian @FAITHFULMANTIS
Rapper Kanye West’s “Saint Pablo” tour made its stop in Oakland on Oct 22, at Oracle Arena.
As a lifelong fan of West I attended the concert with some friends after months of anticipation, and it did not disappoint. The concert started around 9pm and West performed until almost midnight and it was an emotional blast from start to finish.
For this tour, he did something different with the designs for his stage and lighting. Through the entire performance, West was standing on a floating stage that was being held up by the rafters in the arena. The hanging stage had lights on the bottom of it that highlighted the audience below.
West performed around 30 songs that consisted of hits from all seven of his solo albums and a few songs that he was featured on. West started the concert out with an electrifying performance of the exciting “Father Stretch My Hands” track from his newest album “The Life of Pablo”.
Having gone to many shows before, I’ve never seen this amount of energy given off at any performance. During the first song, the crowd started mosh pits as he floated above them on the hanging platform.
West also performed his song “Famous”, which is known for it’s controversial line about Taylor Swift. He even went as far as performing that specific part of the song multiple times for added effect.
After “Famous” was performed, West went on to rap the choruses and his verses “That Part” and “Pop Style”, songs that came out earlier this year. The mood of the concert was turned up for a while when he performed “All Day”, “Black Skinhead” and “Don’t Like”.
These three songs back to back made this section of the concert nonstop hype and mosh pits for around 10 straight minutes. West then performed more of his lyrically powerful pieces like “Can’t tell me nothing” and “Power”.
One of my favorite moments of the concert was after this when West performed what is probably my favorite and most emotionally charged song of his, “Blood on the Leaves”. The performance was one of the most exciting tracks I’ve ever heard live.
One surprising part of the show was that West performed one of his hits “Jesus Walks” which was a song that was featured on his first solo album. Hearing this song brought me back to 13 years ago when I first became a fan of his.
It was important for him to perform this song because it showed that he still remembers where he came from and it was a highlight of the show for his longtime fans.
West began to perform the track “Wolves” but he stopped to make a rant … and a Kanye West concert is nothing without one of his famous rants. This one was about the Grammys and Frank Ocean.
He then spoke on social issues of today like racism and police brutality later in the show, which was actually a highlight of the concert. These parts of the show made it more authentic and it gave the concert more variety because it added more than just music.
After the rant, this started what was essentially the third and final act of the concert in which he performed the final 10 songs. He started the last section out on an emotional note with heartbreak tracks like “Heartless” and “Runaway”.
The performance of “Runaway” was stretched out by another long rant during the song. The first few songs of this final section in the concert were some of his more slow, emotional tracks but that ended when he started to perform “Waves”.
This track brought the crowd back to the liveliness and excitement and the show and he followed it up with a classic hit of his “Touch the Sky”. He then performed a few tracks off of his “Graduation” album which then prepared the crowd for the end of the show.
West closed the show out with his final performances from his newest album with the songs “Fade” and “Ultralight Beam”. These two songs were the most visually pleasing of the concert because they did some more unique tricks with the lighting. The performance of “Fade” consisted of red laser beams lined up in a row across the arena.
“Ultralight Beam” had a single bright spotlight shining down on the middle of the floor and it was made to look sort of like a gate to heaven. The lighting fit perfectly with the lyrics and the mood of each song performed.
The show closed out with the final gospel section of the above-mentioned song and the outro by Kirk Franklin as West’s platform slowly went to the other side of the arena. It was a great way to end the concert because it was an emotional and triumphant moment that wrapped up the show.
After being to many concerts through the last few years I have to say that the “Saint Pablo” show was the most exhilarating and fun show out of all of them. From West’s energy and stage presence to the simple yet unique take on the stage it was truly a spectacle.
It was a memorable show that had the crowd excited from start to finish. The setlist was perhaps the best aspect of the show because it was sort of a Kanye West greatest hits retrospective from the last 12 years. West still has more stops on the show including San Jose, Fresno and Los Angeles and no fan of his should miss out on it.