First of all, my ears are still ringing. Here’s what it was like to be in Mercedes Benz stadium for Kanye West album release listening party.
Shortly after getting into our seats we were startled to our feet by the first song. Apparently that was done purposely. After all, people had been basically lulled to boredom for an excess of 2 hrs of delay. My section stood the whole time. We vibed.
I left my seat to find something to save my eardrums. I noticed that the seat attendants were wearing neon red ear plugs. Brilliant idea. 2 torn up pieces of drink napkins would have to do the trick. I grabbed a few extra to share with the people around me.
One song was giving major house vibes. Had to have been at least 126 BPM but the funny thing about it is that the sound was so garbled, echoing, deafening that after 2 or 3 songs I had trained my self to listen for the silence. I heard that God energy, there was no house beat, just lyrics to me and I still I didn’t stop moving.
Ye was having what I would describe as a Revival. Purely moved by every word, every beat. Hoping to share, gain new followers to his new-found path. He fell to his knees, he danced, he posed, he ran, he jumped, he raged; a full journey of emotion. We watched, experiencing his ups and downs as we too navigate the track list.
In another song I think I heard the Migos. I mainly heard an electronic organ for that one though. You know we went crazy. Lil Baby’s vocals made an appearance also. Then there was a astronaut visual. Projected directly over the 50 yard line (the whole field was covered with what looked like white curtains). I didn’t find out until later that there was a song playing with Don Toliver harmonizing, I couldn’t make it out.
My experience was one that was fully immersed in the environment. Sober (Josie’s Jellies on deck) feeling the vibes. Me and 70k other people.
Listening parties are usually much smaller. We had a crate session. Everyone there and countless others via Apple Music and socials.
The attendants all said he wasn’t going to show up. In fact he probably slept there from Wednesday to Thursday. Show was supposed to start at 8p. The mood must have been disheartening. After all, doors opened at 7p Parking lots opened at 3p. And here we are at 9:52p and boom, blaring highs and mids, echoing off the box seats in the Benz. Almost deafening. The online experience seemed much better but hey we were all there together. I literally could not make out 95% of what was being played. I filled in that void with my own interpretation of who Ye is, was, will be and it was pretty…pretty…pretty good.
The traffic, the people, the hunt to find a parking lot that wouldn’t end up with our windows smashed in. I believe the delayed start time was to give us Atlantans time to adjust to being somewhere outside on time that wasn’t the club, work, etc.
Seen a motorcycle crash on my walk up. We parked where Falcons fans usually tailgate. Not too bad of a walk. Short enough not to cause too many hair issues. It was hot. Someone trying to show off his new purple ride. Driving too fast, slamming into a stopped car at a red light, spinning and landing into another vehicle on the opposite side of traffic. A fair amount of debris flew into the crowd. Everyone was physically OK though. So I can say this; Idiot.
I was outside. RIP Donda.