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Music by VICE

We Saw Kanye West in Times Square Last Night

And it was amazing, obviously.

by Peter Sholley
02 December 2014, 9:35pm

Yesterday afternoon I found out that Kanye would be performing in Times Square as part of an event for World AIDS Day presented by (RED), which meant that I needed to be in Times Square last night. The surprise concert promised last-minute performances by Yeezy, Carrie Underwood, and a Bono-less U2 fronted by Bruce Springsteen and Chris Martin of Coldplay. Up until yesterday, I had regrettably never seen Kanye perform live. Up until yesterday, I was a boy and not a man.

A few shitty things had to happen before Yeezus stole the show. What I failed to realize about seeing Kanye perform in Times Square is that it involved shivering in the freezing cold rain for over two and half hours in nothing but a paper-thin hoodie. The air smelled like a stale Dunkin Donuts. I couldn’t feel my hands. To top it off, an hour and a half before the concert started, an NBC official took the mic and let us all know that we could watch the concert from our couches via live YouTube stream, as if offering us a cop-out from the wet and cold.

While standing sardined in the gated area created for the crowd, I stared into the distance, alone, eyebrows furled with my fists in my pockets for what felt like two lifetimes. I wondered why hundreds of people to do the same. All for a free Kanye West concert? But then I realized journalism is dope, so while waiting in the cold rain, I asked people around me a few pertinent questions.

Johannon

What’s your favorite thing about Times Square?
It’s very bright actually. It’s like, if you had a long day and you’re really tired, you’ll just come in here and it’s like, ‘OH WOW!’ it just brightens up your day. That’s basically it.

Who are you here to see?
I’m here to see, um, Kanye, Yeezus, the god. I’m not here to see anybody else but Kanye.

You’re not here to see U2?
Not really.

How long will KimYe last?
Uhhh…. I’mma leave it at that.

Josh

What’s your favorite thing about Times Square?
I like everything about Times Square, I think it’s a really cool place to just come and hang out. I just walked around a few times to see everything and go in a few stores.

Who are you here to see?
Bruce Springsteen.

Why’s that?
Because I love him.

Do you literally love him?
I love him as a person and as an artist. He stands for a lot of good values.

How long will KimYe last?
I give it three more weeks.

Leiline

What’s your favorite thing about Times Square?
Everything. The crowd. Everything. It’s my first time here.

Who are you here to see?
U2. But Bono.

I heard Bono might not be here tonight. Are you sad about that?
I’m sad, but I’m okay.

How long will KimYe last?
No answer.

Wendi

What’s your favorite thing about Times Square?
A lot of females, a lot of pizza.

Who are you here to see?
Kanye West.

How long will KimYe last?
Forever! Until the end of the world!

Arbaz

What’s your favorite thing about Times Square?
Nothing much. I work here though at Swatch so come visit me for a watch.

Who are you here to see?
Kanye West, Yeezus.

How long will KimYe last?
Eternal. Their love is eternal.

William

What’s your favorite thing about Times Square?
I like all the lights. It’s just a big spot.

Who are you here to see?
I’m here to see, uh, Kanye.

How long will KimYe last?
That’s a rough one. That’s mean. I hope a while! I hope the best for every guy that deserves to be happy.

Ashoka

What’s your favorite thing about Times Square?
Absolutely nothing. This place is awful.

Who are you here to see?
Yeezy, also a little bit of Carrie Underwood. But mostly Yeezy.

How long will KimYe last?
I think Yeezy taught her well, so I’mma give that two lifetimes.

Jeff

What’s your favorite thing about Times Square?
I don’t come much, I’m from New Jersey. I’m more about the tourist kind of thing. I come when I need to, like this kind of thing.

Who are you here to see?
Mr. Bruce Springsteen.

How long will KimYe last?
I didn’t even know they were married to be honest. Kim who? Oh, Kardashian? I have no clue. I give them another year.

Olivia and her family

What’s your favorite thing about Times Square?
That it’s big and that it’s always bright.

Who are you here to see?
Carrie Underwood. Because she’s a girl and she’s awesome.

How long will KimYe last?
I couldn’t care less.

My brain must have blacked out U2, Chris Martin, Carrie Underwood, and Bruce Springsteen’s performances. All I can remember from their collective sets is someone farting right next to me during Chris Martin’s rendition of “Beautiful Day,” which, while surrounded by crying fans with their hands in the air with adoration, was worth a chuckle. When Yeezy stormed on stage, though, everybody stopped fucking around.

As mentioned, I had never seen Kanye live, so when he came on, I lost it. He rushed out from behind the plastic sheath backstage and began rapping with unprecedented passion. He’s the type of musician where everyone in the audience knows every word, which makes every song a singalong. The red and white flashing lights behind him gave him an otherworldly glow. In between his first two songs, he laid on the ground for about 30 seconds, and everyone acted like this was completely normal. Yeezy does as he pleezys. I was entranced by his performance like a sleepwalking toddler, and when he finished with “Stronger” and “Power,” I felt entirely teased by the brief ten minute set.

Waiting in the freezing cold rain for hours felt insignificant after the concert ended. All that this means is that I need to see Yeezy perform more often. Maybe once a week. Maybe once a day. Or, if I’m Noisey Editor Eric Sundermann, I’ll just see him four times on his next tour.

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Music
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Noisey
chris martin
kanye
U2
carrie underwood