Kanye West closes out Summer's End Festival at Tempe Beach Park

To many people's dismay, Tempe Beach Park doesn't actually have a beach.

The park is a "water-front" to what is essentially a huge glorified irrigation ditch, erected on top of the bed of the Salt River. If someone can get over the often times repulsive smell of the stagnant water, the park serves as a lover's retreat, a jogger's paradise or in this case, the host of one of the biggest names in popular culture at the moment.

Kanye West was announced as the closing preformer of the Sunday line-up of the Summer's End music festival a few months back to general shock and awe of the community. Up until the point of the announcement, music festivals at Tempe Beach Park have attracted big names such as Flogging Molly, Foster the People, Slightly Stoopid and others, which have some prestige. However, the sheer star power and braggadocio of Kanye West puts him in a whole new strata of head-liners entirely.

Sunday night was packed with college students, hip-hop fans and supporters of Kanye's 2020 presidential campaign. It did not see the same overwhelming presence of the attendees that the sold out show on Saturday night did, where stage rushing prior to the performance of Big Sean injured many people.

The prominent performers of the night besides Kanye included Pusha T, Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa and Travis Scott.

Travis Scott was prompting his fans to go wild and told security, "If my fans want to crowd surf you let them." He then elaborated saying that if anyone can't handle the "rodeo," they better move to the back. No one really moved anywhere and I only saw one person crowd-surf later in the night for Kanye, however the intended effect of Scott's riling definitely hit as the crowd got hyped. 

At one point during the show, Scott climbed the support structure for the stage to a roar of applause. Everyone had a great time as he played all of the hits off of his latest album, 'Rodeo.'

After Scott's performance the crowd eagerly awaited West's appearance. Many people took this opportunity to note the "super blood moon" that hung overhead.

West's performance was set to start at 8:20, but it was more like 8:30 that he finally took the stage. The custom stage design included a moving set of overhead lights that at points served as a ceiling for the rapper and at other points, by being titled backward, as a back-light.

As West emerged from the smoke on stage and began his song "Power", the effect of seeing an idol for many people caused the crowd to get crazier than they had been all night.  West was a striking figure on the stage as the combination of the lights and his fashion made him appear much bigger than he normally would. 

In his larger than life way, the energy he was putting out seemed to be coming from more than one person. Although he played the stage solo most of the night, he did bring out Vic Mensa and Travis Scott at different points of his set.

He failed to bring out either of his past collaborators, Big Sean or Pusha T, who had performed the festival earlier even though he played the songs they were featured on, he simply left out their parts.

After performing an extended version of his song "Runaway" complete with vocal modulation, he began running through older hits from his first two albums. Due to time constraints he gave short performances of these songs usually only rapping one verse and letting the chorus play once or twice.

At the end of the show, he got off stage and touched his fans outstretched hands before retiring backstage.

As people left, they weren't sure if the intense feeling they had was from the monumental performance by Kanye or from the blood moon.  Maybe it was a combination of both.


Reach the reporter at lsaether@asu.edu or follow @looooogaaan on Twitter.

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