With headliners at music festivals you have to be of supreme dedication to get to the front row. Being dedicated means waiting by the barrier all day just to stay close and be in the middle of it all.
With Kanye West, who played Sunday night’s headlining spot at Governors Ball, his unpredictability and mythology can have an effect on how you go about responding to your environment and general spectrum of emotions you feel throughout the day. Waiting six hours to see him live can take a toll on your psyche and involves six very important stages. Through academic research (sort of) and a lack of shame, we decided to investigate exactly what it means to wait that long to get kind of close to Kanye West.
Stage 1: Preparation
Getting to the front is a lot like a hunt. You’re on the prowl for a prime piece of barrier to hold on to. In order to be ready, you need to pack a fair amount of food and water to keep yourself sustained without forcing you to leave for a bathroom break. You COULD go to the food trucks before the show or you could just hit up a grocery store and pack a loaf of bread and hope the security guards take pity on you enough to give away some bottles of water.
Beyond food, you need to plan the time you’ll be getting there and understand that the later you are the farther you will be from that barrier. There were people in my section who had gotten to the festival just before gates opened.
Stage 2: Friendship
Kindness is something only experienced within the first thirty minutes of a six hour venture into waiting to see Kanye West perform. The excitement of getting a decent spot and knowledge that you will get even closer as the day progresses takes over and makes every person around you a new friend. You’ll bond over the food you brought, your favorite songs, and how much you hate the less friendly people around you. You will hate everyone around you in less than an hour.
Stage 3: Predictions
Having absolutely nothing to do but wait and talk about Kanye meant the audience gathered for him would start writing their own version of Kanye performance fanfic where everyone had an idea of what he would do on stage. Some of the best ideas:
Kanye would fly in.
Kanye would do the show in the air.
Kanye would be a projection.
Kanye would be a projection in the sky.
Kim Kardashian would go into labor and give birth live on stage.
Kim Kardashian would go into labor and Kanye would Skype in the performance from wherever she was giving birth.
Azealia Banks would do the show in male, Kanye drag.
Kanye would not show up.
None of these things occurred.
See also: Photos: The Mud People of Governors Ball
Stage 4: Concern
About halfway through your stay at the Gov Ball NYC stage and the list of above set possibilities, you will start to get concerned that Kanye will do one of those dumb ideas and render your sore legs meaningless. Questions swirl through your head: will Kanye actually just be a projection? Is Kim going into labor? Did he tweet anything to indicate he may not show? Would he tweet anything? Will anyone announce anything? Concern leads into anger and threats of not purchasing YEEZUS or future concert tickets. Bets were taken on how quickly everyone would leave or riot and how many fans he would lose. As his start time of 9:30 passed, and it got later and later, some actually did exit the crowd after a prompt stating of “I fucking hate yo’ ass, Kanye.”
Stage 5: Excitement
As his face and the “Not For Sale” image flashed in the background prematurely to the sound of shrill screams from the crowd, concern faded. People (including myself) promised to not be angry until the concert ended. When Kanye’s physical, non-projected self showed up on stage, the fans repurposed their anger, and all was well.
Stage 6: Extreme soreness.
Standing for six hours straight (or even longer, as many others did) sucks. But it’s difficult to be too angry after the massive production Kanye gave, from start to finish his set was packed with powerful new songs and classic hits. My legs were sore for several hours following the show, but hearing a Kanye rant about halfway through “Clique” before seamlessly transitioned back into the song made it worth it.