Today marks a year since I had the chance to see Kanye West when he brought his Saint Pablo Tour to the then-Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. (it has since been renamed to the Capital One Arena). While I had read reviews of previous shows that talked about a floating stage that moved across the arena, reading about it and actually seeing a no-joke smoke spewing platform coasting by you were two very different things.
The show itself now stands, in my memory, as one of the greatest single concerts I’ve ever been to, as West went through over two hours of hits while his set threatened to rapture everyone right out of the arena. It was the first time I’ve been in the pit for a major arena show, and the experience was surprisingly one of the most pleasant I’ve experienced at a show. Rather than everyone jostling and jockeying for the best position, the nature of the stage meant that wherever you were standing could be the best seat in the house at any point in the show, and that, combined with the fact that the show was full of hypebeasts who wore their best shoes out for this show, meant everyone was fairly considerate about personal space.
While the rest of the year for Kanye would be marked by personal strife, Trump support nonsense, and a mental breakdown necessitating the cancelation of an extra leg of the tour (including a return to Verizon Center that I was looking forward to after convincing a whole mess of people to join me for it), for me he’ll always have this show, one that provoked a genuine sense of awe in me the way few other artists can muster.
I’ve posted a few pictures on Instagram, but here’s a more complete collection of them, in full resolution. All the pictures were taken with a Fujifilm X100T, with some processing in Lightroom with VSCO Film afterwards for most of them.
Find the setlist for the show here.