37.7697° N, 122.4769° W, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California.
Imagine yourself at the Laneway Festival held at the Gardens by the Bay, listening to music, consuming your alcohol, and just having (or trying to have) a good time. Now try imagine it without the humidity which you could slice through like a hot knife through butter. Imagine it with 30 different beer distilleries offering up IPAs, over 40 different food trucks serving up (hot) food, or (cold) desserts. Imagine being in a sea of 180,000 people over the course of the three day festival. Imagine being wow-ed by Kanye West, Death Cab for Cutie, Disclosure, Chromeo, Macklemore, Tegan & Sara, just to name a few.
Just close your eyes and imagine.
Now open them.
The main act, by far, was Kanye West on Day 1. With Outsidelands being my virginal experience listening to Kanye West live, I had many concerns regarding such a controversial entertainer. Thoughts like “Would he neglect his audience?”, “Will he be bringing his A game?”, “Will I get to listen to Gold Digger? (By far my most favorite Kanye song)” started running through my head moments before he took the stage (Mind you, I was heavily influenced by the “Kanye sold out to the mainstream crowd” camp prior to this). But, Kanye West just blew me away with his showmanship and his ability to mold the crowd to his whims. To quote a friend who made the trip up with me:
Kanye is God, he promotes self confidence through his shows. He understands the human psyche and knows how to control the crowd through his actions on stage. There is no one that is as controversial, yet as inspiring as him in the entertainment scene right now.
For a man who has been told time and time again that he couldn’t be a rapper because he had no talent, he certainly blew his old (and new) critics away. His 15 minute free-style song defining his brand of “Kanye-ism” was the pinnacle of the show – where the crowd was agape in awe as he free-styled on — At the Yeezy show, I promote self-confidence. See if you are a fan of me, you just really are a fan of yourself, You don’t have to listen to anybody else... His ability to reach out to his
fans followers is top-notch, and I understood how much his brand of “Kanye-ism” can affect his fans followers when I chanced upon my fellow concert-goer bawling her eyes out to Runaway — screaming each line out with passion and emotion that could have woken Sleeping Beauty up without a kiss from Prince Charming.
Outsidelands happens every summer in San Francisco, and if anyone comes up during that period, I highly encourage you to check out the music festival. Even though the artist line-up will change, and the food & beverages might change, the atmosphere surrounding the concert and the culture that it is built upon is something worth experiencing. If you’re ever up in the Bay Area in summer, it is something that you would not want to miss.
Photos provided by Kenneth Khoo