Last Friday, I joined over 10,000 other New Yorkers and braved the cold for a free concert by a self-proclaimed God amongst men - Kanye West - in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. The landmark concert was the kickoff to this year’s NBA All-Star weekend coordinated by Jay-Z’s entertainment company RocNation. Despite freezing temperatures, thousands packed into the modestly-sized Flatiron Plaza that was dominated by an enormous stage erected days before and beams of light that could be seen from blocks away in every direction to catch a glimpse of ‘Yeezus.’ People of all ages and cultures braved the cold to see the ever-controversial Kanye West and a slew of famous guests including Big Sean and 2 Chainz take the stage at 8 PM to experience the hour-long performance. The songs ranged from some older hits to his newest single, Only. Newcomer Fetty Wap performed his hit Trap Queen, which excited everyone from the first note.
Although West’s public shows of arrogance have earned him the hatred of many, I can truly say that West was an amazing live performer with a stage presence that could be felt from blocks away. Young teens, college students, and even parents seemed thrilled by the opportunity to experience the music. West also proclaimed how grateful he was for the opportunity to entertain the crowd at such an amazing location for absolutely no cost. Perhaps the concert, the same day as his fashion show launching his new clothing collaboration with Adidas, shows his growing interest in appealing to the general public and affecting culture on a wide scale just beyond music. As well as the shift in his persona from the enemy he has become in the eyes of the public. Either way, the concert was well-worth the freezing temperatures and it was amazing to see such an influential star perform live. And equally as amazing to see such a diverse crowd knowing every word to every song and practically ignoring the cold to experience the music that they've enjoyed for years just a few hundred feet from the man who created it. The concert was an amazing experience to both see and hear, and an amazing example of the endless possibilities of things to do for little to no cost when living in New York City. Praise Yeezus.