The Stantastic Review is Here!
Sorry this one took me so long. I got back from Florida on Monday and I’ve been semi-busy running around ever since.
Plus, I woke up with a cold today. Sunzabitchiz.
Anyway, enjoy the adulation.
It’s taken me a couple of days, but thanks to some juuuust-viewed YouTube clips of Kanye West’s Glow in the Dark tour stop from Madison Square Garden, the epic awesomeness of the show has finally hit me.
I’m not gonna talk about Lupe Fiasco (awesome), N.E.R.D. (bafflingly popular), or Rhianna (not bad at all). I’m not gonna talk about the crowd or the weed smoke or the number of white kids that, had they known they were watching creative, innovative artists, probably wouldn’t have shown up. I’m not gonna talk about the length of time in between sets (ranging from “That wasn’t too long” to “What’s taking them so danged long?”.
No sir. I’m gonna talk about me getting to see my favorite artist in the world right now, maybe my favorite artist of all time.
After all the opening acts and during the change of the set to Kanye’s spaceship/alien planet vision, I sat in my chair with my right leg bouncing and shimmying, which is what I always do when I’m patiently waiting. I stared out into the crowd in Madison Square Garden and looked at all the people walking around and talking, waiting for Mr. West to take the stage. I looked out and watched the men setting up the stage and I tried to not think about how long I was waiting for this moment. The people peopled, the stage crew stage crewed, and with every test of the lights–lights on, lights up, lights off, repeat–my heart would jump up like, “FINALLY!”. Eventually those tests became cruel taunts, like that one friend you had in High School that knew you dug her boobs and would tease you by faking lifting up her shirt knowing dang well that your eyes lit up with hope every…single…time…she did it.
Then the lights went out.
The lights went out and my heart soared and my adrenaline surged and I said, “HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT! OH MY GOD!” and I stood up. I pulled on my “Stronger” glasses, threw up the Rocafella diamond, and happily joined the crowd in chanting the name of the man we were all there to see: “KANYE! KANYE! KANYE! KANYE!”.
The video screens started up, the lights went going, and Kanye’s voice filled the Garden, explaining the backstory to the show we were about to see. Everyone. Lost. Their. Shit. The lights went up, revealing Kanye West laying on the stage, and without getting up he started performing “Good Morning”.
It was at this point that my catharsis began. It was time to revel in my standom. It was time to shout his lyrics from the top of my lungs. It was time to wave my hands in salute and appreciation. It was time to join 18,000 people in a unifying moment–in appreciation of a once-in-a-generation artist.
“Wake up Mr. West, Mr. Fresh, Mr. By Himself he’s so Impressed…”
I sang along, doing the cool little fat guy side-to-side swaggeriffic bounce I do when I feel like pretending I’m a rap star.
“On this day we become legendary…”
I yelled the line out practically in defiance of the last 7 years of my life.
The show continued, and the plot revealed that Kanye had crash-landed his spaceship on a strange alien planet, on a quest looking for creativity. Then, his spaceship’s computer’s voice, “Jane”, spoke up: “Remember Mr. West, this isn’t the first crash you’ve been in.”
“Through the Wire” came on. I got chills. It was fucking awesome. From there Kanye went into “Champion.” It was also awesome. “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” began and Kanye conducted the masses through their belting out of “Laaaa la la–Wait ’til I get my money right…”. I feel like I waited for a hundred years to sing that song the way I did.
Thanks to the weed/cigarette smoke that had found it’s way into our area, I was dry-mouf’d, and thanks to the hours of walking around & the 27 hours of train-rides I had over the last 48 hours, I was tired. I ho-hummed my way through “Golddigger” and one or two others. Then “The Good Life” came on, and I lost my shit again.
“I, I go for mine, I got to shine. Now throw yo’ hands up in the sky.”
Rey was back in the game. Piss on being tired. Piss on sore feet. Piss on being thirsty–okay, wait. Nevermind that last one. “Jesus Walks” came on, and the song hit super-hard. I gazed out over the crowd–not one person sitting–and I marveled at the fruition of Mr. West’s dream: Everybody was indeed screaming out “Je-sus Walks!”. Post-“Jesus Walks”, Kanye went into “Hey Mama”, the version he performed at this year’s Grammy awards. I began to tear up. Kanye’s eyes were closed and he sped thru his lyrica, obviously trying to get through the song before the emotion of it all got to him. The song finished, Kanye sat down, and the stellar backing band launched into Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”.
Now, if you know your Rey history, you know I’m a fool for that song, and it was fucking incredible to hear 18K people singing along with the song. I’m telling you, if Peter Venkman needed some good vibes to crack open a possessed museum, he needed only to wander into The World’s Most Famous Arena.
After the Journey bit it was time for the high-point of the show. It was time for “Stronger”.
As you can see, the shit was epic. The build-up was all about “Jane” telling Kanye that he was the brightest star in the universe, and that he was strong enough and good enough to fix the spaceship and help him get home. He worked on the little computer thing as the Daft Punk sample cycled through a few times, and then he launched into the song.
It was at this point that the catharsis reached it’s apex. It was no longer a concert. It was no longer a sing-along with the artist. At this point, it’s Kanye West vs his demons. It was Kanye vs the accident. It was Kanye vs the doubters. It was Kanye vs the media. It was Kanye vs his critics. It was Kanye vs his own horrible, horrible insecurities. It was Kanye vs a future without his mother.
It was at this point that the catharsis reached it’s apex. It was no longer a concert. It was no longer a sing-along with the artist. At this point, it’s Rey vs his demons. It’s Rey vs lost loves. It’s Rey vs rejection. It’s Rey vs losing his house. It’s Rey vs depression and loneliness. It’s Rey vs being homeless. It’s Rey vs the baby not being mine. It’s Rey vs fear, doubt, and insecurity. It’s Rey vs every single crazed, cursed voice in his head that holds him back.
At this point, it’s Kanye West & Rey, artist and fan, vs The Future.
“IS THIS WHAT YOU BEEN WAITIN’ FOR??”
Kanye asked the question. Rey asked the question at the top of his lungs, at this point not giving two shits about everyone else in the arena.
There were other songs, “Homecoming” to close his show, and a sort-of encore of “Touch the Sky” featuring Lupe Fiasco. Kanye introduced the band, spoke to us in the crowd, and said his goodbyes.
The nite was over.
The rest of our lives was just beginning.
Call Reynolds, Cuz it’s a Wrap.
When I was in Tampa Bay waiting for the train to take me back to NY, I waited for 4 hours before I found out that the train would be an additional hour longer. I got mad. I pouted. I shook my head at my own stubborn refusal to fly.
Once on the train, a few hours into the ride, Black Conductor Lady explains the delay. Apparently, someone stepped in front of the train in an unfortunately successful suicide attempt. Black Conductor Lady:
“People are losing hope nowadays. That’s why we have to support one another.”
I’ll admit, my review above sounds like a Love Letter from a 14 year old to a Backstreet Boy, but at this point you should know that I don’t give a fuck.
The world we live in is a world where people step in front of trains because they lose hope. They think that being dead is more fun than being them, and they do something like jump in front of a fucking train.
The world we live in is a world where boys cheat on girls, girls lie to boys, parents neglect their kids, neighbor feuds with neighbor, government ignores the people, the people swear off the government.
The world we live in is a world where if you’re not GO! GO! GO! NOW! NOW! NOW! JOY! RAPTURE! ECSTACY! AGGRESSIVE CONTENT! 24/7, you’re viewed as delusional. You’re viewed as a fag or a pussy.
The world we live in is a world where it’s a constant struggle to find hope in the sea of despair and nihilism we are all adrift in.
This is the world we live in, and even given all of that horribleness–murders, drugs, rapes, robberies, lies, deceit–I have not lost hope. I have not lost faith. I insist on doing things the right way. I insist on living my life by a code of “Please” and “Thank You” and “I love you, Mom.”
It takes so much to be that guy day in and day out–to turn the other cheek. Living that kind of life–this kind of life–takes fuel and it takes inspiration. It takes meaning and it takes reinforcement.
That is why I listen to Mr. Kanye West. That is why his music is so important to me. Not only does he say what I can’t find the words to utter, but he also throws in other gems and jewels that I never even thought of. He creates anthems and slogans and gives throws some hope into a world that needs it, via a genre that has been raped and pillaged by various parties while we all looked out our window at the terrible happening, only to close our blinds and ignore the travesty we have all seen.
You ask me why I like Kanye West’s music, and I’ll answer you:
It’s what we’ve been waiting for.