Leave it to Kanye West to shock 20,000 people all at once. However, this time it wasn’t due to one of his famous controversial rants. When he brought his Saint Pablo tour to Madison Square Garden Monday night, the crowd arrived wondering where the stage was. Yeezy pulled a fast one as the show began with a stage that was suspended from the ceiling and proceeded to float 15 feet above the crowd.
Rapping to “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” West was tethered to the stage on a long leash for safety as he romped around. The rectangular stage moved side-to-side and even tilted with lights shooting out the side as he sang his new hit, “Famous” plus covers of Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like” and ScHoolboy Q’s “THat Part.”
West is known for his over the top stage designs. This current incarnation comes after the spaceship stage on his 2008 Glow in the Dark tour and the mountain stage from the 2013-14 Yeezus tour.
“I want to take the concert experience to the next level,” West told reporters before the launch of the tour. “I want people to come to the Pablo shows and know that it’s going to be the best time they had in their life.”
The general-admission floor area looked more like a rave than a concert with people jumping about as West performed “All Day,” “Mercy” and “Black Skinhead” atop the stage. His close-up image was projected on screens above the lighting rig.
West worked the entire arena by himself keeping the energy high with new songs from his latest album, “The Life of Pablo,” which he debuted at MSG in February as part of his Yeezy Season 3 fashion show.
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Lighting played a key role in altering the atmosphere and changing the vibe as the crowd sang along to songs like “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and “Power.”
West didn’t go off on the mic at all, but he did sing a very meta song called “I Love Kanye,” where he showed some growth as he raps, “I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye. The always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye.”
West returns for another show at the Garden on Tuesday night.