If God is the big capitalist in the sky, then Kanye West is certainly his son, sent to earth to inspire, influence (and infuriate) the masses.
Of course, West's relationship with the "most high" is long-documented, through his own creative works and the countless thinkpieces
it spurs, and his Saint Pablo Tour, which descended on the Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday, September 28, is simply the latest manifestation of West's infatuation with the infinite.
West's dream for a spaceship-turned-ultralight beam becomes a reality on this tour, which features a 16-by-20 mechanized platform that floats above the floor-seated audience in a spellbinding display of design and big vision production.
General admission ticket holders were showered with light from beneath the platform, becoming a part of the performance themselves, as West directed what his techs have referenced as an "orchestrated ballet" from above, sharing the spotlight yet in ultimate control.
His set included songs spanning his entire catalogue, offering fans the chance to reminisce over the "old Kanye" and revel (or internally revolt) in the new, a kind of highlight reel juxtaposing his West at his most obscene and most righteous.
He followed a performance of "Jesus Walks" with "Freestyle 4," (the track in which West ponders the possibility of setting off an orgy at a Vogue party), and combined ragers like "Pt. 2" (the song that kicked off the career of Desiigner) and "N****s in Paris" with odes ("Only One") and moments of vulnerability and reflection ("Runaway" and "Ultralight Beam").
West's seemingly "contradictory impulses
" are what's come to be expected from the controversial artist, as well as meandering monologues [or rants, as described by some] that contain just as many self-indulgent caveats as high-level droplets of inspiration. Throughout most of the show, his remarks to the audience remained minimal, aside from a few instances where he commanded his DJ to run the track back for emphasis, spurring higher waves of excitement from the audience, and one three-minute address.
It began quietly, asking at one point, "do we have any dreamers in the house tonight?" and morphed into an explanation of how he intends for his Yeezy clothing line to become "the Apple of apparel."
"Just remember tonight that y'all were in the house, soldiers of the future, taking off on a mission to make the world better through creativity and design and ideas.
The vision is not to be limited, the vision is not to be over-priced at all. The vision is to be the same prices as H&M, Zara, Balmain, Walmart. The vision is not to separate people, but to bring people together."
No doubt donning all his own designs, West explained his desire for his Yeezy line to help disable the racist and classist structures of the fashion industry, to become a "company that would change the world," calling to mind the kind of 'improve your life [and the world] by owning things' advertising that transformed modern lifestyles and made Steve Jobs an icon.
Since the audience needed no convincing — many donned TLOP and Yeezy threads — the remarks ran the risk of falling squarely into the realm of vapid self-promotion, though when contextualized within the "God dream" framework of his latest album and accompanying tour, it became something more poignant.
Perhaps not a second coming of Christ, but most definitely proof that West's quest to be mentioned among greats is in many ways complete, while still traveling through beautiful twists and turns.
See 15 photos of Kanye West on an ultralight beam here.