After denying Montreal fans a visit in October due to routing logistics (that somehow didn’t stop Toronto from getting two shows), megastar Kanye West finally brought his YEEZUS tour to the Bell Centre this past Monday night.
Kanye went back and forth between old and new songs from his catalogue, all while providing fans with outstanding and wild set changes, pyrotechnics, and a 25-minute sermon that was short of being considered one of Yeezy’s famous “rants.”
The Louis Vuitton Don divided his YEEZUS set into five sections: “fighting,” “rising,” “falling,” “searching,” and “finding.” It wasn’t totally clear if any of his song choices for each section were appropriate or purposefully selected for its respective section, but it did not seem to affect concert-goers’ enjoyment in the least.
Alas, the most disappointing facet of the concert was Ye’s energy level for the first few sections. West relied on the material of the opening sections to be the “espresso” of the faithful in attendance, all while wearing various lavish masks. It doesn’t take much to get people going when you’re playing songs like “Black Skinhead,” “On Sight,” “Power,” “I Don’t Like” and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” as your opening songs.
Among the first few highlights of the show was a heart-wrenching performance of “Coldest Winter,” a song written in memoriam of his late mother, Donda West. West laid down on the stage, which had risen a couple metres into the air, and crooned with Auto-Tune as fake snow and a spotlight adorned him.
Later on in the show, Kanye played another showstopper, “Blood On The Leaves,” whose first beat drop brought the first use of pyrotechnics in the show.
After playing “Lost In The World” and “Runaway,” Yeezus began addressing the crowd about the quality of life, the importance of treating people right, his ideas outside of the musical realm, and even mentioned why “Blood On The Leaves” wasn’t the opening track of YEEZUS, all the while singing opening tracks from his previous albums to the tune of “Runaway.” Kanye continued to address the crowd with a mask on, complimenting the Montreal crowd for not asking him to remove it.
In the show’s homestretch, Kanye unearthed classics from College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and brought the house down, playing old favourites like “Stronger,” “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” “All Falls Down” and even “Get ‘Em High,” a cut from Ye’s debut album, The College Dropout, a song that few expected would appear on the setlist.
In addition, a very special guest paid a special visit to Kanye just before West’s performance of “Jesus Walks” — a Jesus Christ-like figure himself. A surreal experience for all involved.
Kanye, fittingly, ended the show with “Bound 2,” minus the underwhelming visuals with Kim Kardashian, sending a crowd of Yeezus fans home happy. Yeezus gave the crowd what it needed, perhaps not when we wanted it.