The performance, which was simultaneously livestreamed at select IMAX theaters and via StemPlayer.com, featured a combination of music, art and fashion, plus special guests including Jack Harlow, Migos, Alicia Keys, and Marilyn Manson.
During the nearly two-hour event, Ye performed fan-favorites such as “Eazy,” “Pablo,” and “City of Gods,” but he also debuted new tracks that, for the most part, spotlighted his fallout with ex-wife Kim Kardashian. “Sci-Fi,” for example, samples part of Kardashian’s 2021 Saturday Night Live monologue, during which she said, “I married the best rapper of all time. Not only that, he is the richest Black man in America. A talented, legit genius who gave me four incredible kids.”
With lyrics such as “Nevеr take the family picture off thе fridge/ Never stand between a man and his kids/ Y’all ain’t got enough security for this,” from an unreleased track, Ye also opens up about his family situation.
Below, check out five things you didn’t see during the livestream that was observed by Billboard at the venue.
An abandoned church standing on a swamp of water, Ye’s setting was simple yet powerful. Surrounding the stage were about 10 motorcycles and a group of more than 20 performers — all dressed in black — who got in their positions about an hour before showtime. During the nearly two-hour presentation, dimmed lights and fog filled the stage as the performers, which increased in number, walked around the house on fire.
— La Roiz (@la_roiz) February 23, 2022
Wave of Waiting
While the album did not arrive at midnight on Feb. 22 as fans hoped, Ye kicked off his event well after the expected start time. The performance, which was slated to start at 8 p.m. ET, began at 10:45 p.m. ET. Fans on Twitter even joked that Ye was “running on Cuban time.” In true large arena fashion, the crowd kept busy by doing the wave.
Kanye running on Cuban time being this late
— Javy (@Javy0422) February 23, 2022
It Was a Yeezy Party
Speaking of fashion, Ye’s fans — what appeared to be mostly Gen Zers — went all out for this concert. Some dressed in all black, others in designer brands, some wore their favorite pair of Yeezys, and others rocked studded face coverings. If you didn’t get the memo, Ye’s slides and foams were sold at the event, and as well as his exclusive hoodie and T-shirt merchandise that was engineered by Balenciaga.
— Donda’s Place (@dondas__place) February 23, 2022
A Star-Studded Audience
At the VIP and media check-in, French Montana and his entourage made the line just moments after doors opened. But the Moroccan-American rapper was not the only artist supporting Ye. In the crowd were also business magnate Elon Musk, renowned rapper and producer Diddy, Brazilian star Anitta, and Argentine newcomer Tiago PZK. After the event, fans also spotted DJ Khaled, who was hyped up by a small crowd at the parking lot.
Barely Visible Special Performances
The real highlight of the night was the wave of special guests who performed with Ye. Migos’ Quavo and Offset joined Ye for Donda 2′s “Kid We Did It.” Jack Harlow came out to sing “Louis Bags,” and Pusha T for “Diet Coke.” During the second half of the show, after the house on the set split up, Ye was joined by shock rocker Marilyn Manson and DaBaby — who both supported him at the first Donda event — for a performance of “Jail,” and later by Alicia Keys and Fivio Foreign for “City of Gods.”
Though all of this was seen by spectators at the IMAX screenings and from home via Stem, fans at the LoanDepot Park could barely see the stage and which artists were performing with Kanye. Staying true to his aesthetic, the setup had minimal lighting and was dark for the most part. The crowd, however, went extra crazy when Keys crooned the lyrics to “City of Gods” as she played the piano. Despite the poor audio at the event, her powerhouse vocals were crystal clear.
— Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) February 23, 2022