There’s a time to forgive, a time to forget, and for Kanye West, that time was last night at his much anticipated return to Vancouver.
The “Saint Pablo Tour” stormed into Rogers Arena on Monday night, and by the time West broke into his third song and single “Famous,” Vancouver had definitely forgotten about the last two shows he had cancelled in 2013.
But who could really think outside of the venue walls when Yeezy was floating around above the crowd all evening. With no openers, and no extravagant explosions or visuals, West’s stage hung from the ceiling throughout the show – even tipping over at some points. The dimly lit arena barely shined on the Chicago native. In fact, the lighting was strongest below the stage he stood on, having the spotlight on the fans dancing below him most of the time.
And dance they did throughout his 90-minute set that included tracks from each of eight albums, including his 2016 release The Life of Pablo.
Although there was a heavy emphasis on his new music, Mr. West also took us way back with “Jesus Walks,” “Can’t tell Me Nothing,” and “Heartless.” And while they are considered mellower tracks, they received the same enthusiasm and singalong from the eager crowd – some of whom may have been pre-teens when The College Dropout was released in 2004.
The album, recorded as early as 1999, has proven to be timeless, much like West’s catalogue.
As Yeezus shifted into My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and danced throughout “Power,” the stage swung almost violently, and fans jumped in unison below it. The moving stage allowed the Kanye enthusiasts to follow as it relocated, but also allowed all the seats throughout the arena to get a closer glimpse at the multi-Grammy Award-winning performer and producer.
Diving back into The Life of Pablo, the stage stood still at an almost 40 degree angle for the start of “Wolves,” but was soon back in its floating position for “Waves” and “I Love Kanye.”
And Vancouver loves Kanye. Merchandise line-ups looked like shirts were being given away for free – which on the contrary, tour hoodies went for over $100 a pop.
Inside the pit, under that stage, many fans wore their newly purchased merch proudly, even when the heat was turned up during “Touch the Sky,” “Good Life,” and his 2007 hit “Stronger.”
With no encore, Yeezy wrapped his set with “Fade” and “Ultralight Beam,” and once again, all seemed forgiven.
For Kanye’s first time back in Vancouver since December 2011, he gave the city an experience – and one they will not soon forget. Until, perhaps, the next time he cancels a show here.