By Rahul Lal
On a night that was intended to cap off a weekend of brilliant performances at New York’s first Meadows Music Festival, the most anticipated performance of the event was cut short and left people in a state of confusion, when Kanye West abruptly ended his set.
West was in the middle of a performance that only Yeezus himself could pull off. With his usual audacity, it actually began with a fireworks show lasting for the length of a full song, which helped to get fans into a forgiving mood; West started the concert nearly 40 minutes late.
He captivated the audience, starting off with songs from his most recent album The Life of Pablo. It wasn’t long before he was running into the crowd where he had requested that there was absolutely no photographers so he could interact with fans.
Unlike many of his shows, he didn’t have any elaborate skits or crazy visuals, instead, like most of the festival’s other performers, Kanye just let his music do the talking. After performing classics such as “Jesus Walks,” Kanye went on to perform “Heartless.”
Suddenly, an individual ran onstage, whispering something in Kanye’s ear. Some got excited, thinking it was a guest performer. That was, until Kanye stopped the show due to an unspecified “family emergency.”
Some fans were in a state of outrage demanding their money back, demanding that Kanye come back on stage and finish out the show while others, myself included, were curious as to whether this was all part of some Kanye-esque intermission. The crowd quickly realized that it wasn’t a joke when the lights came on and a representative of the festival announced that Kanye had left the premises and that the show was over.
Since then, news has broken out that Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian, was reportedly robbed at gunpoint by people disguised as police officers waiting outside of her hotel room in Paris.
It’s important to remember that, while to many Kardashian is a media superstar, she is also a daughter, wife, sister and mother to two children. It’s unfair to be upset about not getting to witness the final 20 minutes of Kanye’s performance; he made the same decision most loving husbands would have.
While he certainly stole the show (even if he was only there for a small part of it), two other prominent artists rocked the main stage over the course of the day. Chance The Rapper delivered an incredible show delivering some young energy to a crowd that seemed to know just about every breath in between each of his lyrics.
He began the show with four straight songs before even taking a break to talk to the audience. His first words to the audience went “Hi, I’m Chance The Rapper and I’m opening up for Kanye West.”
The crowd instantly erupted because of his humility and playful attitude. He was joined by Carlos The Lion, Chance’s Muppet-style DJ. But he also featured a live band playing the instrumentals to many of his songs. Much of his album Coloring Book reflects a soulful gospel sound and Chance made an entire crowd of drunk 20-somethings sing about God, no small feat. His performance was capped off by confetti that was launched across the crowd as he disappeared off stage.
Another fan-favorite was Bryson Tiller. The Kentucky born Tiller treated the performance as a chance to to convert new fans. In between tracks, Tiller gave the audience a bit of a director’s cut to each song.
He reminisced on the struggles of wanting to pursue music but being forced to hold off because he had to work odd jobs just to bring food home for his daughter. Tiller’s voice may be even better live than on record. He ended his performance by stating that this will be one of the last times he performs so much of his hit album because he has a lot of new music coming out soon.
All in all, even with the craziness at the end, The Meadows delivered fans an unforgettable experience and catered to a very young, diverse and excited group of fans with different musical tastes over the course of a weekend. Here’s hoping it returns to Flushing next year and Kanye plays a full set.