Last night (Nov. 24), Kanye West brought his ballsy Yeezus Tour to New York’s Madison Square Garden. To say that the show is over-the-top is as much of an understatement as quipping that embattled crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford likes to party. VIBE offers 15 Thoughts on West’s grandiose performance art escape.—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29).
1. If this is indeed A Tribe Called Quest’s last show, they are going out with a proverbial bang as Kanye’s opening act. Phife—who has battled publicly with diabetes and has had a kidney transplant—looks revived. A chiseled Q-Tip, wearing a bright red jacket and energetically (and effortlessly) commanding the stage like a wide-eye 19-year-old, seems like he has been lifting buses in his spare time. Ali Shaheed Muhammad is actually working the turntables like a living, breathing DJ with no tapes in sight (imagine that?!!!). And Jarobi is on serious hypeman mode. This is hip-hop.
2. “Steve Biko,” “Buggin’ Out,” “Electric Relaxation,” “Award Tour”…just a sampling of Tribe’s peerless run keeps the crowd on their feet. Many are probably too young to remember when the Queens, New York outfit was at their early to mid 90’s peak. But they have certainly won over the Yeezus contingent. And when a bombastic Busta Rhymes comes out for the 1991 classic “Scenario” (is there a more perfect get-your-ass-out-of-your-seat hip-hop anthem ever recorded?) the early crowd loses their shit.
3. Final Tribe entry: If you are going to perform “Bonita Applebum,” an ode to the ultimate around-the-way girl, you have to have a woman in red, black, and green body paint sashaying onstage with the kind of outrageous shapely dimensions to put every KING model to shame. No binoculars were needed.
4. On to the ‘Ye Show: Forget warming up the crowd with old school jams and the hits of the day. West is blasting what resembles the soundtrack for a German snuff film.
5. Make no mistake. This Yeezus trek is the kind of pure HOLY SHIT spectacle usually reserved for iconic ‘70s concert gigs presented by music royalty. Think Pink Floyd’s over-the-top The Wall production, P-Funk’s epic mothership-propelled Earth Tour, or David Bowie’s stylistic Diamond Dogs showing (just imagine a coked out Bowie French kissing a skull and multiply that by 10…that’s Yeezus). West, who opens the show with the defiant “New Slaves” (“I’d rather be a dick than a swallower!!!”), brings such unbridled showmanship to hip-hop. There’s a mammoth white mountain like structure that looks like it came straight out of an alien planet from some trippy sci-fi flick for God sakes. And yes it gets even weirder…and more ambitious.