I prepared for it. I really did. The fact that I’m old. Capital O, Old. Washed.
My friend Demetri told me. He saw Kanye West in Columbus, Ohio and said he never felt so out of touch at a show before. I heard it, but didn’t HEAR him.
Standing on the floor before the Kanye West show in Cleveland, Ohio, it hit me like a ton of bricks. In the year of our lord, 2016, at 35 years old, I’m an old guy at a show. I was easily 10th percentile of oldest people there.
I was terrified my preconceived notions would come to life. THE DREADED MILLENNIAL. The fatherless fuckboy zombies would absolutely ruin this night for me and keep me from ever going to a show again.
But then something happened. One person approached me and idly chatted. Then another. A third. From inane shit about me looking like their friend, to where my brother got his tour shirt, people were friendly and personable. I can confirm, the kids are alright. Dare I say, kids at this show were more polite and friendly than any fucking show I’d been to in my teenage years.
This all carried over and manifested itself into one of the most fun atmospheres I’ve ever experienced at a show.
I’ve heard from people who sat in the reserved seats on this tour that the floor looked rowdy, but it was and it wasn’t. Sure, the kids were going off and having fun, but for all the dancing and jumping and happening I’ve never been around a bigger group of people just wanting to have fun.
Someone bumps into you? And immediate “I’m sorry”. People wanting to be in the best position possible to see Kanye on his floating stage? It wasn’t a complete stampede. It was restrained chaos and I can’t ask for more than that.
In Cleveland, NBA Champions LeBron James, JR Smith and Tristan Thompson all made their way down to the floor during “Power” to take jump around a little and get wild.
Did shit get lit when fans realized they were among us all? Yep. Did it get out of control and spiral into a big mess? Nope. Everyone was respectful, having fun and it took the party to the a new level… as it should.
The music? It was fine. The setlist was just about any Kanye song you’d want to hear. It sounded awesome and with just Kanye and no ranting bullshit, his music stood for itself.
The production? Out of this world. The lightshow was awesome and the stage floated over the entire pit area, giving everyone front row seats at some point.
Standing directly under the stage, the harsh lights shining on you, gave a distinct Close Encounters of the Third Kind vibe and was pretty cool. It was unique and gave me a concert experience I’ve never come close to having.
So yeah, go see Kanye West. You miss the old Kanye? He plays the old shit. You like the new Kanye? The setlist was heavy on “The Life of Pablo”. Just like checking out cool shit? That stage is something incredible.
But seriously, if you’re an Old like me, don’t be afraid.
I might hang my head in shame every time I see replies to Kanye West’s tweets that say “DAD! But the kids behind those tweets? They aren’t so bad. Get down on the floor and dance, you just might feel young again.
More Saint Pablo, Floating Stage, Kanye, and Lebron James Pics Below.
A writerly writer guy who writes about music, basketball and writing. He now writes here, but has written other places too. He also writes for a big fancy company as his 9-5. Writing, writing, writing. If you want to read his basketball writing (or listen to his podcasting, which isn’t writing but you know).