I Feel Like Pablo: What Kanye Has Become

By Trevor Durham on September 19, 2016

There’s something of a religious experience, like Madison Square Garden hearing the speech of a cult phenomenon. In the air, soon to be pierced with screams, Kanye lyrics, and a bass sure to disrupt your inner-ear, the presence of a connection is tense. Nearly an hour and a half passed, with the audience waiting on tip toe. Cheers sounded anytime a sound was heard of a technician made a change. Jesus of Nazareth didn’t get the welcome that the night’s Saint did. As the lights went to black, the air burst, and the ground shook as he rose above us, it became more than anybody could have anticipated. “Welcome to Saint Pablo.”

“Welcome to Saint Pablo”

Social media has been the precision laser of the Saint Pablo tour, with almost nightly updates released of Kanye’s words to his fans. He doesn’t need interviews, he doesn’t need an appearance, he just speaks. We listen. Kanye West bursts onto every scene flying, a man rising to the heights with tears in his eyes and tens of thousands cheering to just hear him speak. He commands a presence, not unlike a powerful politician, wielding it brusquely, as a child with a hammer. But Maxwell’s silver hammer swings, breaking apart the crowds, causing riotous dancing, singing, more. Yeezy doesn’t hear our squabbles over his Tweets. Mr. West is a culture of himself, and the Saint Pablo Tour is proof more than ever.

To see Kanye, is to have seen history. He bursts straight out into the second through fourth songs on his newest album, The Life of Pablo. The screams, mosh pits, and echoing chants weren’t enough for him. He demanded Famous stop and start over. “I put my heart and soul into this, and they said nobody liked it. I need to hear you louder.” And he did.

Temper tantrums are an easy label for a misunderstanding. Kanye replayed many songs, such as Freestyle 4, Facts, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t satisfied. Kanye West wasn’t satisfied that we were satisfied.

Below Kanye, for those uninformed, the masses gather. His stage is a small, levitating space that moves over and around the audience, as the floor seat members run around under him. “Get in a circle. I got something for y’all. Turn up the bass.” Kanye replayed songs, verses, whatever he wanted, so that our night would be unforgettable. And it was.

No doubt you’ve read on about how Kanye called out an audience member, wearing a shirt dedicated to his late mother and with a Runaway tattoo on her arm. He cried seeing her. His rant was about responsibility, work, and self-respect. Kanye proclaimed that he was a Saint, but he turned it into a lesson: “You tell your boss ‘I FEEL LIKE PABLO. I’M JUST LIKE ‘YE’.” There was no illusion to him how far he’s grown from his audiences. “I know I’m up on a fucking space-ship,” but he wanted us to relate to him. “I look stupid everyday so y’all don’t have to be scared.”

“They wanted to shut me up. You haven’t heard me on the radio in seven years. Not since Graduation.” He wasn’t angry. Kanye has accepted what it means to be a rock-star, a higher being, and still struggling to be true to his Chicago roots. Kanye says a lot of things, but he really means them. “I am impatient.” He knows. He wants to you to know he’s sorry, and he’s trying his best. But even Yeezus is human.

Turning public perception, the crowds slowly realize Kanye is honest, true, and sincere

The thirty-plus song set never dropped in energy. The lights were spectacular. And Kanye holds your attention, steals your breath, and makes you feel loved. There is a communal, religious experience to seeing this man. But The Life of Pablo is a story of a depressed man, alone at the top. Stranded amongst betrayal, agony, and self-doubt. Before he played Ultralight Beam into his descent, his exit, his return to the Earth, there was a fragility in the end. He serendaded a fan and his wife, and he told us to love ourselves.

But who is Saint Pablo Tour for? Fans of Mr. West, or Yeezus himself?

I write some things, read lots of things, and try to spend as much time as possible with food in my presence.

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