I can feel it slowly fading away from my memory, so before it gets even worse, I’m going to write down whatever I can remember.
I desperately wanted to go to this concert. I didn’t want to miss another opportunity to see Kanye West. I missed the Yeezus tour – which I regretted, I missed him at Coachella, I missed him too many times to count I just couldn’t miss seeing him again. His music meant so much to me that I knew I couldn’t miss out on it this time. There was no excuses. It was in August, I didn’t have midterms/exams to study for this time. I HAD TO GO!
I asked everyone I could possibly think of to go with me, because the tickets were only being sold in pairs. It was impossible because no one wanted to pay the money to go see him as much as I did. My best friends (who are also my cousins) weren’t willing, my sister was 50/50, I didn’t really have any other friends. I didn’t know a lot of Kanye fans. My friend (who’s pretty much a brother to me), didn’t want to spend the money, my best friend didn’t want to spend the money, my coworker that was a Kanye fan didn’t want to spend the money. I was stressing out. All the people I interacted with on a daily didn’t seem to come through for this concert!
WHAT COULD I DO?! Then I started remembering all the people I ever shared a Kanye bond with. A guy I used to work with at Swiss Chalet came to mind. We used to have a stupid joke that we were married at work. I don’t even know how it got to that point but eventually it just became a thing. I’d come into work and if he was there, that was it we were married. I’d get pissed if he talked to any other female coworkers LMAO, I’d expect a hug when I’d come in, or I’d go and hug him, ahahah he was so cute. I loved him. We had a lot of fun as coworkers together. It was always fun doing closing shifts with him, cause he’d be scrubbing the kitchen down with his bluetooth speaker on, playing music we actually wanted to listen to – besides the 98.1FM they’d play all day at the restaurant. I ended up quitting Swiss Chalet when I got another job opportunity. I hated that restaurant. It sucked my soul, and once you got comfortable there it was hard to get out of. I stayed at Swiss for three years, I stayed there for the people – because I loved working with them, and some of the customers were fun too. Eventually, the Orignal crew left, and I knew I couldn’t be there much longer. I had to go – or I’d never go. I never really talked to the people at Swiss once I left. But I still had my ‘husband’s’ number on my phone. Which worked out perfectly.
We had hung out maybe once or twice after I quit. Like when we went for shisha the day he quit, and another time we drove to Forks of the Credit to smoke and chill randomly. That was probably the first time I actually got to get to know him – before then we kinda just talked as coworkers – really shallow conversations. That day, he ended up telling me this gigantic saga of his circle of friends crumbling. It was sad to hear, and you could see it on his face how frustrating it was for him at the time! I’ll never forget it. But both those chill sessions happened maybe over a year ago.
Me of course having no shame, I decided to message him to ask if he was going to the Saint Pablo Tour. I asked because I knew he went to the Yeezus tour (without me mind you – he asked this other girl that worked with us at Swiss – who wasn’t even a fucking Kanye fan) I was CHEEEEEESED for so long. I still am hahahaha. I’ll never let him live it down smh. So I kinda just assumed he was a big concert afficianado and if there was anyone to ask to go to a concert with – it’d be him.
Luckily! He was going!!!! And he already had tickets! He actually had 4 tickets. 2 VIP and 2 other tickets slightly cheaper than VIP. He was supposed to go with his boys, but they flaked, so he sold his VIP tickets and kept the two regular ones. I asked him if I could go with him, he said that he would keep me posted because he didn’t know if his other friends he orignally planned on going with would still be going.
I went to Montreal for 5 weeks, came back, followed up and it seemed like I was going to get that ticket. I WAS SO FUCKING EXCITED. LIKE LITERALLY SCREAMING. We decided to meet up about a week before the concert to catch up, give him the money for the ticket, and just plan I guess. It was kind of a random day. He met up with me at trinity commons, to a starbucks – he had never had starbucks before – I think I stole his basic white bitch virginity, which was an honor. We walked around the plaza because there was a random car meet going on that day, we bumped into a coworker we used to work with at Swiss that day too! What are the odds hahah. But it was fun, we talked about taking “M” for the concert, and honestly I was fucking down, this was going to be the best day of my life, I already knew it.
I called up as many friends as I knew to get a link for “M”, he did too. He didn’t have any luck, I had one friend come through for me. We were ready.
The day finally came. IT FINALLY CAME. Of course I had work the same day as the concert. I figured it wouldn’t be so bad anyway. The concert was at 8ish, I finished around 5, and to commute there would be about an hour. I got all the help I could. I had one friend lend me a shirt she wore to the last Kanye concert she went to, I had another friend do my makeup for me, I tried to get ready as fast as I possibly could, while silmultaneously making sure my phone was as charged as could possibly be. I had all my Kanye CD’s in my car that I had been listening to solely for the entire week prior, I had been studying Life of Pablo like you would not believe, I was so ready to go. I picked up my friend, and it was hilarious because he was waiting outside on his porch because he just couln’t wait anymore either. I loved how excited we both were! It was going to be fun.
We drove to Kipling station and took the ttc to the Air Canada Centre. There was a huge crowd standing outside the ACC. Everyone was waiting to get in, we wanted to make sure we were in line to buy merch before going to the concert, and we also wanted to make sure we bought said merch before Kanye performed. I didn’t want to miss a second. We lined up and lined up, I don’t even rememeber what were talking about for so long – possibly deciding what merch to buy, or what was going to be there. They finally started letting people in, checking bags, patting us down, scanning tickets, and then the line-ups inside the ACC for the merch began, one line to another. So many line ups. While my friend lined up, I went and got water for both of us. It was going to be my first time taking MDMA and I had been advised to drink lots and lots of water, and stay hydrated. I didn’t want to fuck my body up by any means, so I made sure both of us had plenty of water.
I kind of went off on the merch hahah! I got a hat, a hoodie, and a t-shirt! It was $330 for the ticket alone, and another ~$250 for merch if I remember correctly. Half a grand for Kanye. He better fucking appreciate it. We kinda felt ripped off because the clothing was made with such a generic brand and they overcharged it for convenience and for the hoodies saying “saint pablo” all over it. I was kind of sad that I missed Kanye’s pop up shop in Toronto because the merch there was so beautiful too. Sigh, that’s a whole other thing.
Anyway, we finally get our merch, we thought Kanye was going to be on time, and we wanted to be high on time for his performance, so we popped the “M” while we were in line for the merch because it was going to take a while to feel it anyway, we got to our seats, and we defintely started feeling something. I felt so light, and I couldn’t stop smiling. My heart was racing but it also felt like it was beating slow at the same time. I felt like I was floating. I was so happy that I came to the concert with my husband hahah I couldn’t stop snap chatting that day – anyone that knows me didn’t miss a beat of that concert because I recorded EVERYTHING. I brought two cameras that day, my digitial camera, plus my phone just in case. (Turns out the digital camera I had sucked because the sound turned out horribly – but now I know).
Kanye came super late. Like over an hour late. We had already been high for about 45 minutes when suddenly, smoke started seeping out onto the floor in front of us, the lights dimmed down, everyone jumped up from their seats anticipating something, we watched people dressed in black climb up these ladders around the stage, we had no idea what was going on, I wasn’t even sure if that was Kanye at one point. I was in awe with everything going on. They had that happen for a while, a little longer than I’d like to be honest, eventually people started sitting again because we didn’t know what was happening anymore. And then, music started playing specifically Pastor T.L. Barrett’s “Father Stretch My Hands.” – the sample used in Father Stretch My Hands pt. 1. I couldn’t believe it, I was really there, this was really fucking happening. The show was finally beginning. Eventually you hear the Pt. 1 start where the gospel choir starts looping “AHHHHHHHHHHHH” with the synthesizer playing in the background, and then you hear “If young Metro don’t trust you imma’ shoot you” AND OUT COMES KANYE ON A FUCKING FLOATING STAGE JUST STANDING THERE LIKE A BAD ASS WITH A JACKET ON, BOLTED ON WITH A HARNESS ON. IT WAS FUCKING CRAZY. SO FUCKING CRAZY. HIS ARMS OUT LIKE A GOD JUST EMBRACING EVERYONE’S WELCOMING SCREAMS AND CHEERING. I was so fucking happy. Happier than I have ever been my entire life, I can’t believe I wasn’t crying HAHAHAH!
It was so crazy. I was shaking, I was screaming, I was jumping, I didn’t even know what to do with myself. It was a fucking crazy show. He didn’t stop, track after track, he did the entire Life of Pablo album by himself, no features, Drake didn’t come like the rumors claim, apparently Travis $cott was there in the pit. I loved the seats we had. We were pretty much the border from the pit, we had our own little party in our own little section without having people jump all over us – the pit looked fucking crazy.
The visuals and lighting were fucking amazing. The entire experience was exhillarating. The sound engineering was perfect, there were no technical difficulties aside from him being late – and honestly I’d rather he be late and have everything working rather than have technical difficulties mid way. The red lighting beamed under him onto the pit, there was yellow lighting shining on top of him, it was beautiful. It was so beautiful. I could see his facial features, I could see his mouth move on the mic, I could see the details on his jeans it felt so surreal to be near someone I held so dear to me musically. I had been waiting for this for so long.
Mid-way through his set he told his sound crew to just stop. Completely stop playing the music stop everything – people started getting confused. We all stopped jumping – we didn’t know what was going on, I can’t remember now if music was still playing in the background, but he literally took the time out to start talking to his audience, about his ideas on the stage, his vision, everything. Just had a straight up heart-to-heart with us. Couldn’t possibly ask for a more perfect performance from him.
My friend and I eventually started coming down from the M a bit, we could feel it, and we didn’t know how long the concert was going to be since he came late, it felt like the turn up was just going to keep going, we decided to pop another one so we were ready for it if anything – the concert ended about an hour after us popping it. Which kind of sucked, it felt so short, I wanted him to be there forever. And Kanye left so mysteriously too, he exited with Ultralight Beam that played as he disappeared into the crowd.
I’m taking a huge excerpt from an article I found online only because it was written so much better than I could ever put into words:
There were no costume changes and zero videos. The backup band, led by super-producer Mike Dean, remained unseen. And, unless you count smartphone-armed fans spotting Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian, on the general-admission floor, there were no cameos whatsoever. Heck, Mr. West didn’t even step on the stage — at least, not the traditional one ACC concertgoers have grown accustomed to for 17 years.
After 45 minutes of ambient rumbles and wolf howls playing over the house speakers — a soundtrack not unlike one you may encounter while lining up for Canada’s Wonderland’s Ghoster Coaster — a denim-clad Mr. West emerged on a hovering mini stage lined with 18 bright lights, to the thunder of Life of Pablo‘s “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1.”
For 105 minutes, a platform no larger than eight giant steps long and four giant steps wide were his world. Affixed to the lighting frame overhead by eight cables, the “floating” stage tilted like a military aircraft’s loading ramp. It glided the length of the floor. It raised and descended. Kanye himself was fastened to the thing by a tether from his back to the middle of the dais, lest he tumble into the moshing throng below, lit by some 200 lights beaming down from the craft.
Depending on the shadows and the soundtrack, the thick rope made the Chicago son appear like a skydiver (“Touch the Sky”), a slave (“Black Skinhead”) or a piñata (“Gold Digger”). During “Jesus Walks” — an encore ender turned mid-set throwback treat — Kanye leaned over the edge of his contraption to touch his congregation and hungry hands grasped for his, The Creation of Adam-style. It was something out a God dream.
“I wanted to design something that allows me to be closer to y’all,” Kanye explained to the partygoers who shelled out 200 bucks for general admission. It was one of the few things the MC said that wasn’t a lyric all evening. That is a good thing. The extravagantly bare-bones concept placed the focus firmly on the music, which the self-proclaimed genius doled out at a breakneck pace, never cloying for applause or pandering to the city.
After opening with “Father Pt. 1” twice, the song’s sequel bled into snippets of “Famous,” then “Pop Style,” THat Part,” “Facts,” “Mercy,” “I Don’t Like,” “All Day,” “Skinhead” and “N***as in Paris.” Only after that blizzard of bangers did the MC remove his jean jacket. What a start.
All told, 37 songs, touching every album in his catalogue, were performed, breathlessly, leaving no time for industry or sneaker rants. He cranked out gem after gem: “Gold Digger,” “Stronger,” “Heartless,” “Waves” and “Touch the Sky” all make their tour debuts, while “Runaway” and “All of the Lights” soared like anthems.
As 11:30 p.m. neared, “Father” was brought back for yet a third rendition — yep, we got the “bleached asshole” line thrice — before Kanye closed with how Pablo‘s beginning, “Ultralight Beam.”
Finally unshackled from his personal platform, the artist touched down on the floor and shared handshakes with the commoners before exiting the building.