The show was billed as one of the biggest concerts booked for the new Golden 1 Center. But within minutes of the show, the streets and sidewalks near the arena erupted with chants and cussing aimed at Kanye West.
After just two songs and about 30 minutes into his concert on Saturday night, with about half that time spent on an extended, stream-of-conscious styled rant, the hip-hop star abruptly pulled the plug.
“Press, get ready to write your passive aggressive, LeBron (James) racist comments - get ready the show is over!” West said before storming off the stage.
After the house lights went up shortly after, Golden 1 Center filled with choruses of boos and confused looks from fans. Outside the arena, many were visibly upset, especially after plunking down so much money on tickets.
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“I spent $250,” said a disappointed Christian Krebs of Sacramento. “I might be a fan of his music, but I’m not a fan of his character.”
The Sacramento stop on West’s “Saint Pablo Tour,” which was attended by more than 13,000, was scheduled to start at 9 p.m. and didn’t include an opening act. West didn’t take the stage until nearly 10:30 p.m., a time which the crowd grew restless and in some cases droopy eyes were seen around the arena. But not long after, the whole show came to a sudden, awkward finish and the house lights turned on.
The performance capped a wild few days for West, who was booed by fans at his Nov. 17 show in San Jose after saying that he didn’t vote, but if he did, he would’ve voted for Donald Trump.
West’s long been known as one of popular music’s most polarizing artists. He’s scored such hits as “Gold Digger,” “Stronger” and “Jesus Walks,” and renown for a production touch that’s pushed the sonic boundaries of hip-hop music, especially in his use of layering vocal samples. West’s also infamous for an ego as enormous as the bass that rattled around Golden 1 Center, who in the past has compared himself to Walt Disney, Henry Ford and Pablo Picasso.
Hock Farm Craft & Provisions, a restaurant near Golden 1 Center, even poked fun at West with its Saturday menu. A $35 “Yeezy” pizza with mortadella and mac ‘n’ cheese was offered as a nightly special, and described as “cheesy, full of baloney and over priced ... just like Kanye.”
During West’s abbreviated set on Saturday night, he performed two songs (“Famous,” “Good Morning”) as large mosh pits swirled around the floor. The staging was some of the most inventive seen on the current concert circuit, with West rapping on a large platform that hovered over the main floor. As the platform moved back and forth, the crowd followed like a giant scrum and generated a wild, slam dancing energy that’s usually reserved for heavy metal or punk gigs.
But all that momentum was silenced once the music stopped after about 15 minutes and West turned his floating stage into a kind of soap box. His myriad targets included corporate radio, Google and Facebook (“Facebook lied to you!” he said to the crowd), a fellow hip-hop star (“Jay-Z, call me ... talk to me like a man!) and claimed Beyonce leveraged MTV so she would win video of the year at the 2016 Video Music Awards.
West also took a couple of digs at Hillary Clinton.
“This Saint Pablo tour is the most relevant (thing) happening,” West boasted. “If your old ass keeps following old models, you’ll be Hillary Clinton.”
And not long after, it was all done.
Agitated fans spilled onto the streets surrounding the arena, and L Street filled with chants of, “(Screw) Kanye!” As of early Sunday morning, it was unclear if tickets to the show would be refunded.
“We encourage all guests to travel home safely,” said a brief statement released by Golden 1 Center following the concert.
But for now, it’s safe to say that West won’t be welcome back in Sacramento for a long time.
“I’ve been a fan since 2004 and all we get is two songs? said Keith Jougenatos, while fuming on L Street following the show. “I’m done being a fan.”