Kanye West’s 39-date Saint Pablo tour kicked off in Indianapolis on Thursday night with a twist — there’s no main stage. Instead, an illuminated platform hovers over the crowd while West, tethered to the center, addresses his disciples from midair. Early reviews are reporting a 31-song setlist, heavy on “Pablo” with callbacks to 2004’s breakout "The College Dropout” and his and Jay Z’s 2011 “Watch the Throne.” The show is set to open in Ohio this evening, with dates in Toronto before arriving at Boston's T.D. Garden on Sept. 3, New York’s Madison Square Garden on Sept. 5 and 6 and Philly’s Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 4.
Following the hip-hop icon’s 2013 Yeezus tour and its stylized Aggro Crag and biblical guest star -- Jesus himself -- “Pablo” appears to be a pared-down production in comparison. Maybe because at this point Yeezus is just enough.
Either way, here’s what we know so far:
Almost all of “Pablo” gets play, with a few exceptions
The "Life of Pablo" setlist goes way back into the KW catalog of crowd-friendly hits, bringing back the likes of “All Falls Down,” “Flashing Lights,” “Jesus Walks” and “Runaway.” He also incorporates his verses from Drake’s “Pop Style,” “N—s in Paris” and Schoolboy Q’s “That Part,” because Kanye forgets nothing.
Here’s the setlist from Indianapolis:
1. Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1
2. Pt. 2
4. Pop Style
5. That Part
7. All Day
9. I Don't Like
10. Black Skinhead
14. Freestyle 4
15. I Love Kanye
16. Can't Tell Me Nothing
18. Blood on the Leaves
19. Jesus Walks
22. Devil in a New Dress
23. Flashing Lights
24. All of the Lights
26. N—s in Paris
27. 30 Hours
29. All Falls Down
30. Only One
Indianapolis experienced a stage malfunction
According to Rolling Stone, West didn’t experience a very graceful exit at the end of his set following some technical difficulties. It reports:
"At the very end of the show, as the last notes of ‘Fade’ died out, the lift designed to carry him over the massive 30' x 30' projection screen up front malfunctioned, forcing him to descend with his stage to the ground and depart somewhat unceremoniously through the floor of the arena. It was an admittedly anticlimactic way to end an otherwise stellar performance."
West is looking out for his fans, sort of
Granted, the concept of a roving stage has a magnetic hoarding effect on the fans below, like a stampede effect following West’s floating platform that might not be … well, very safe. USA Today reports that the rapper told off his security when they attempted create space between fans and the stage ("The whole concept is they're supposed to go wherever they want.”), but he called them back when he saw a female guest “being jostled” in the crowd.
His fans are looking out for him, sort of
West was forced to restart “Blood on the Leaves” three times because fans continued to grab at the floating stage. The song had to be abandoned, the show paused. FYI: Billboard says the platform hangs about 20 feet above the crowd and floats at a “safe-ish” distance, with a video of the live show projected in place of a traditional stage.