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Inside Soldier Field for Kanye West’s Chicago homecoming

¡Hola! logo ¡Hola! 8/27/2021 hola-us

Kanye West returned to his hometown of Chicago on Thursday, August 26 to pack out an iconic venue usually reserved for major sporting events: Soldier Field.

Tens of thousands of fans headed to the stadium to hear the latest version of the rapper’s album DONDA, named after his late mother, Donda West. Even though this event follows two other listening sessions in Atlanta, where he was born, none of us knew what to expect--and in true Kanye fashion, this presentation was much different than its predecessors.

While this event was far from being socially-distanced or COVID-19 safe, Soldier Field is an outdoor venue, plus, vaccinations were being offered on site. The show was set to start at 9pm and--again, in true Kanye fashion--it didn’t begin until almost 11pm. Still, the crowd packed with superfans of Mr. West had just as much energy all those hours later as they did when the show was scheduled to start.

Once things got underway, it was surprise after surprise, starting with Ye bringing out Marilyn Manson and DaBaby, who was recently dropped from almost every summer festival lineup following homophobic comments during his Rolling Loud performance.

Fans in the stadium were excited to see the controversial rapper, mostly for shock value, but the disappointment eventually set in once the crowd realized Jay-Z’s verse on “Jail” was replaced by one from DaBaby.

Throughout the rest of the show, more masked performers continued to make their way on stage, sitting with Kanye on the stoop of him childhood home, which the rapper had replicated for the concert. Other stars by his included Travis Scott, Don Tolliver, Westside Gunn, and a Jamaican singer named Shenseea. Unconfirmed reports in June claimed the latter could be pregnant with Drake’s child, making her presence at the show that much more interesting, given his ongoing beef with Kanye.

Following a night full of the unexpected, the most shocking spectacle came at the end of the show, when Kanye lit himself on fire inside of his childhood home. He ran out of the room to be helped by men with fire extinguishers, which led to the crowd erupting into what had to be the loudest applause of the night.

After that, an even more unexpected moment followed, when a woman--thought to be Kim Kardashian--walked out in a wedding dress. She met Kanye on the field, where he finally took his mask off for the first time, flashing a big smile at his estranged wife before the lights went down and the show ended.

Could this symbolic rebirth for Kanye mean a new start, specifically in his marriage? Hopefully, we’ll find out soon. For now, we’re still waiting on DONDA to drop.

Plus, even if the rapper were to organize 10 more listening sessions in the coming weeks, fans would still happily show up.


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