Donda listening party inspires OPRF students


Photo by Drew Koenig

Donda Listening party at soilder field

Kanye West hosted a listening party for his new album “Donda” on Aug. 26 at Soldier Field to almost 40,000 fans. The listening party at its core shows the importance of music in people’s everyday lives and the impact it has on us. I mean, 40,000 people from all over the country came to Soldier Field on a Thursday night to watch Kanye stand next to a house and dance while playing an album that wasn’t even released at the time.

That being said, it was an incredible experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I met someone from Los Angeles who had gone to both listening parties in Atlanta.

I met someone who has seen Kanye live 13 times.

I met someone from Minnesota who had never been to a live music performance in their life.

Music brings all of us together in a way nothing else can. Meeting all these people made me feel like I was a part of something bigger than just being part of a listening party or one more fan of Kanye. I felt like I was a part of a larger community of people who loved music enough to wait two hours after Kanye was supposed to start performing, who loved it enough to try to get home from downtown Chicago after the show ended at 1 am.

But earlier, inside the stadium, Kanye built his childhood home on a terraformed hill in the center; atop the house, a giant white cross illuminated the night sky. He started the listening party by bringing out his kids during “Donda Chant,” the album’s intro. The energy in the stadium during the intro and the first song was electric; I have never witnessed something like it. It was so loud I couldn’t hear the person standing next to me.

Kanye’s demeanor was also obscured due to the black mask over his face. After his kids, Kanye brought Marilyn Manson and DaBaby, two controversial figures, out onto the stage. Then came Travis Scott, Don Toliver, Shenseea, Westside Gunn, and Larry Hoover Jr, all of whom have features on the album.

During the show, people in vans, trucks and cars drove onto the field, all of whom moved in a circle around the “house.” During “Come To Life,” Kanye went back into his childhood home, and when he came back out, he was on fire, literally.

The show ended with the song “No Child Left Behind” as Kim Kardashian came out in a wedding dress to meet Kanye and recreate their marriage on the field. Kanye and Kim, who got married in 2014, were recently reported to be getting a divorce.

Similar to the first two listening parties in Atlanta, Kanye promised the album would be released after the show. Once again, Kanye would prove his penchant for lateness by dropping Donda on Sunday rather than Friday. The album is 1 hour, 49 minutes with 27 songs. It takes a gospel theme combined with a rap element. The features shine on Kanye’s masterful production. The album is all over the place but beautiful at the same time. Only Kanye could suspend the start by two hours and release the album a year later than originally planned, and still create a show so worth the wait. It was a class show with class music.