LIVE: Heineken Red Star Access G.O.O.D Music Event presented by Kanye West

Photos by Tim McGurr/13thWitness

Cross one off the bucket list.

I go to almost 100 shows a year, and even with that startling fact I have never seen Kanye live. I own all of his albums and as a fellow middle class black dude I felt a connection to him, but when given the chance I chose Radiohead over The Glow In The Dark Tour (#kanyeshrug). So when I got my VIP invitation to the Heineken Red Star Access event I jumped at the chance. I even rearranged my vacation so I can be in the building.

The vast confines of Skylight One Hanson (aka where they hold the Brooklyn Flea Market in the winter) was a fitting location for Yeezy. The high ceilings (which are an acoustic nightmare) create the almost sanctuary-like settling that accompany most of his live performances these days.

Photos by Tim McGurr/13thWitness

Although doors opened at 9, the concert took place at 12 AM on the dot, as openers Mano and Q-Tip did their best to console an ever weary crowd. When Kanye took the stage, starting off with Power, it was clear that he was in command of the entire evening. Sure, this could’ve been just another a ‘Ye show, but it was more of a G.O.O.D. music showcase similar to the setup of the show 2 years ago at SXSW. It’s a shrewd move. Many a boutique label manager have let their artist whither on the vine, yet Ye is at lease using his er Power to give his signees some shine.

Pusha T, CyHi Da Prynce, Big Sean, Kid Cudi and even (surprisingly) Mr. Hudson were in the building for the night. Pusha (obviously the most veteran of the MCs) followed Kanye, mixing in tracks from his My God mixtape with the more obvious Clipse bangers. Sean and CyHi try to follow up but simply can’t match Pusha’s authority. Having that said, the obvious other star of the night was Kid Cudi. His extended set garnered the most excitement from the audience other than Yeezy himself and hands down the most comfortable on stage.

After the showcase, Yeezy returned to the stage, even taking request from the audience (dropping verses from “Through The Wire” and “All Falls Down,” before ending with his now trademark MPC track “Runaway.”

I know I’m supposed to be one of those jaded industry dudes right now, but honestly, I entered the venue as a fan and left…a fan. Ye is a consummate performer, and the only pop star in this world other than Lady Gaga. (Trust me). But the question remains, can his G.O.O.D. music counterparts achieve similar success? Only time will tell.