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10 Takeaways from Attending the First Night of Kanye West's Saint Pablo Tour

Indianapolis hosted the opening date of Kanye West's Saint Pablo Tour, and we went to find out what Kanye has in store for the world.

Photos by the author

By a miracle of what has to be God—literal God, not even just Yeezus—the humble borough of Indianapolis, Indiana, had the privilege of hosting the opening date of Kanye West's Saint Pablo Tour. I’ve lived in Indianapolis for 22 years, and I can safely say that when something cool happens here, it’s a big deal. To get a tour from a major artist is one thing, but to land the opening date of a massively hyped Kanye West tour is practically unprecedented. So, along with what felt like the entire city, I made the trek downtown to get a first glimpse of what Kanye has in store for the rest of the world.

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Warning: There are some soft spoilers ahead for those of you who want to experience the show yourself. If you would be so kind as to stay on the page long enough for it to count as a pageview so Noisey will keep hiring me to write, I will have VICE HQ send you a gift basket*.

LINES ARE A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT AND SHOULD BE BANNED

Lines are inherently problematic. I know what you’re thinking, “there’s no way lines are inherently problematic,” to which I would say you’re wrong. No one likes lines. At best they delay your life for a short amount of time and at worst they ruin your day. And no I’m not writing about lines being problematic because I had to wait in line in 90 degree heat for two and a half hours to get in to see Kanye. I actually enjoyed being among a never-ending sea of bodies moving so slowly that drying paint would be jealous. It’s funny to me that I sweat through the shirt I painstakingly chose before the show started. Why would you accuse me of that? I’m a well-respected journalist.

THE SAINT PABLO TOUR IS THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE FOR HYPEBEASTS

If Kanye builds it, hypebeasts will come. Kanye shows are equal parts music and a fashion exhibition. If you show up to this tour underdressed, you have committed a cardinal sin and will be roasted accordingly. And please, for the love of god, don’t show up wearing fake Yeezys. I saw at least four pairs and said a prayer for them. Bless their hearts.

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THE LIFE OF PABLO IS BEST ENJOYED IN STADIUMS

This thesis was proven with the Madison Square Garden combination fashion show and listening party; however, I would like to reiterate that The Life of Pablo is best enjoyed in a huge arena with chest-rattling bass. Forgive me for this basic opinion, but music is amazing and hearing it among thousands of people at the loudest volume possible will make you believe in God. Like, OK, this is the answer to life. How can you not smile?

DOES KANYE LIKE TRANSFORMERS?

this lighting rig is a fucking transformer im losing my mind pic.twitter.com/ppSj1U9AnT

— your friend hancock (@hancxck)

August 26, 2016

I’ll try not to spoil too much of the show for people who want to experience it themselves. But. The lighting rig used for the show moves and changes shapes throughout, and it reminded me of the classic mid-80s cartoon Transformers, which made me wonder aloud if Kanye liked Transformers. There’s no way to know, barring a visionary stream of consciousness comparing Optimus Prime to Steve Jobs, so choose your own adventure here.

THE STAGE FLOATS

All Of The Lights. #SaintPabloTour pic.twitter.com/C8iONlu7MK

— BIGNOAH (@BIGNOAH256)

August 26, 2016

Along with being a transforming lighting rig, it also functions as the stage, which is SUSPENDED ABOVE THE CROWD. There are two stages: One is a smaller square, and the other is a larger rectangle. Both stages move at various points throughout and the crowd follows suit, effectively rendering the people standing on the floor part of the show in a small but meaningful way. The square stage also tilts as it moves across the stadium, which gave me horrible anxiety that Kanye was going to fall at any minute.

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KANYE > EVEL KNIEVEL

As mentioned above, for the duration of the show Kanye is suspended above the crowd on the floor on two stages. In order to get from one stage to another, a trained professional unbuckled the harness keeping Kanye affixed to the stage and gently transferred him from one stage to the other before re-buckling him. For both Kanye and the trained professional, this feat was more daring than anything Evil Knievel has ever done. First off, Kanye is performing on a stage suspended high in the air using only various cable wires. On top of that, he moves from one stage to the other—again, suspended high in the air using only various cable wires. On top of that, he doesn’t stay still on the stage—no, it jerks and sways when he moves. Not to mention the trained professional is literally responsible for Kanye’s life, which is far too much stress for one person to shoulder.

THE BEEF WITH NIKE IS OVER; KANYE WANTS US TO BE THE BEST VERSION OF OURSELVES

"Took his job and put it on the line for me. @wex1200 at Adidas" - Kanye #SaintPabloTour pic.twitter.com/B13mZlIMEq

— TeamKanyeDaily (@TeamKanyeDaily)

August 26, 2016

During his performance of “Runaway,” Kanye gave a visionary stream of consciousness spanning from being thankful for his wife and children to wanting the best from creatives. Notably, he ended his feud with Nike and Mark Parker, going so far as to thank the CEO “for giving a kid out of Chicago a chance to create" and apologizing for anything negative he said. He thanked Jon Wexler of adidas as well. Along with the olive branch being extended to Nike, Kanye took the time to thank the audience for their support and said he wants to inspire future generations to be the best version of themselves. He ended his message by saying we need to get rid of corny shit, which is inarguable.

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THERE WASN’T MUCH MERCH

#SaintPabloTour Merch pic.twitter.com/ICQtLtaYtC

— TeamKanyeDaily (@TeamKanyeDaily) August 25, 2016

The merch booths were surprisingly sparse for a man who just executed a worldwide pop-up shop in 21 different cities. The only options were an orange longsleeve of The Life of Pablo cover and the airbrushed Donda West and Robert Kardashian tees. The longsleeve is $70, and the tee is $45. I’m not entirely sure if this is the only merch for the entire tour or if the full merch charcuterie wasn’t ready in time for the kickoff. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful.

THERE WERE SOME BUMPS, BUT THE CONCEPT IS THERE

"Ay security fuckin my whole show up. The whole concept is they supposed to go wherever they want." #SaintPabloTour pic.twitter.com/Ya0rqG1DFH

— TeamKanyeDaily (@TeamKanyeDaily)

August 26, 2016

I don’t expect the first stop of a worldwide tour to go smoothly and neither should you. There’s a reason they chose Indianapolis over a bigger city: It’s easier to work out the kinks here. There were a few problems with the setlist. “Ultra Light Beam” didn’t get played because Kanye didn’t like how the transition sounded. Security was being a pain and disrupted the flow of the crowd moving back and forth with the stages. I wouldn’t worry because none of the problems were glaring, and I expect they’ll be ironed out as the tour continues. But, wow, the concept is amazing. I was on the floor and saw it from below, but I imagine it looked unreal from above. In fact, section 100 and higher and toward the center is going to be the best view for those of you who still haven’t purchased your tickets.

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SCOOTER BRAUN IS NOW MY BEST FRIEND

Even Kanye West's manager @scooterbraun is asking where the stage at#SaintPabloTour pic.twitter.com/nRSqkMnuRr

— TeamKanyeDaily (@TeamKanyeDaily) August 26, 2016

I was walking back to the car with my friend and his brother, and I noticed someone who looked an awful lot like Scooter Braun. It turns out it was, in fact, Scooter Braun. He was waiting out front of his hotel for his driver, and I didn’t want to blow up his spot, but you only get so many opportunities in life to tell Scooter Braun thank you for “Where Are Ü Now,” which I of course forgot to do after we chatted for a bit. Scooter, if you’re reading this, thank you for “Where Are Ü Now.”

*I can’t guarantee this at all.

Alex Hancock didn't write this on Kanye's stolen laptop. Probably. Follow him on Twitter.