Fresno Beehive

Fresno fans upset Kanye West canceled concert

One question plagued fans of rapper Kanye West this weekend: Would he make his Fresno tour stop?

The answer is no.

That news came early Monday morning when the Save Mart Center announced West had canceled the remaining dates on his Saint Pablo tour and that tickets would be refunded at the point of purchase.

Rumors of a possible cancellation had been raging all weekend after West cut short his performance in Sacramento on Saturday. The concert ran all of three songs and ended with a rant in which West said, among other things, that he would have voted for Donald Trump in the recent election had he voted. It was the second time West had cut a show short in the past two months. Fans were not happy.

On Sunday, West canceled his Los Angeles tour stop altogether just hours before the doors were set to open, cementing fears that West wouldn’t make it to Fresno after all.

Late Monday, NBC and the website TMZ reported that West had been hospitalized for medical welfare. TMZ said West was being examined for severe sleep deprivation when someone decided he needed to be admitted for his health and safety.

“When he started ending shows early and getting booed by crowds early in the tour, there was still hope that the Fresno concert would happen,” said Danny Salas, assistant program director at Fresno radio station Q97.1. “When he canceled L.A., I think we all realized there was no way we were getting the show.”

Of course, the tour has been a wreck since October, when West canceled a show in New York to be with his wife, Kim Kardashian, after she was robbed in Paris. That was days before West announced the Fresno show on the second leg of the tour. Even the timing of that announcement was odd and came with its share of rumors and skepticism.

That was all part of the sell, Salas said. West’s outrageous behavior in other cities only added to the excitement for his Fresno show: “People were looking forward to experiencing ‘crazy Kanye’ in our hometown. What was he gonna rant about? Who would he talk trash to? Would Kim be there, eating nachos in the suite?”

So fans – and haters – may feel like they were robbed of the Kanye West experience, but the cancellations will only add to the legend of “Yeezy,” Salas said.

“But all those wasted hair appointments, new clothes and baby-sitting arrangements are kind of a bummer,” he said.

Missing out on the show is an extra bummer for Chandler Merigian. She gave up a chance to see one of West’s four Los Angeles shows last month after the Fresno concert was announced. She said she had floor tickets in L.A., but sold them and bought tickets to see West at the Save Mart Center instead to save her the hassle of driving to L.A.

The 22-year-old Fresno State student had been following West’s antics on social media, but she wasn’t worried about him cutting the concert short. Seeing West – even if it were for three songs – would be better than not seeing him at all. At least, she reasoned, she would be able to get a tour T-shirt. Over the weekend, she held out hope that the Fresno show would be rescheduled, not canceled.

On Monday, she was devastated to learn she won’t see West perform. But she said she will always be a fan of his style and music, antics aside.

“Some people don’t understand how artists work,” Merigian said. “And Kanye is a real artist.”

If West announces another Fresno date in the future, she will be first in line to get tickets, she said.

This isn’t the first time an artist has canceled a show at the Save Mart Center. In 2012, classic rock band Van Halen postponed and then canceled a Fresno stop after its reunion tour with singer David Lee Roth floundered. And just this year, Journey canceled the Save Mart Center stop on its San Francisco Fest tour.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

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