It all started as a scheduled Kanye West concert. Kim Kardashian West’s husband was the headline act for this year’s Governors Ball NYC Musical Festival on Randall’s Island Sunday night. But when torrential rains hit the New York City area, the show had to be canceled.
“You can’t go anywhere. You can’t even breathe. People are just pushing each other.”
Kanye quickly drove to Summer Jam, a festival at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where the rain wasn’t a problem. There, he played a short set.
Then came a tip, hinting at a secret, late-night pop-up show. Kanye’s creative director Virgil Abloh shared on Instagram that the performer would be doing “PABLO” — meaning West’s latest album, “The Life of Pablo” — at “2 a.m. in Manhattan. Sorting out where now.”
Fans got excited. Very excited. In 2013, Kanye headlined Governors Ball and delivered what some say was one the most memorable performances in the festival’s five-year history. Anticipation was high this year to see Kanye again.
Just before midnight, rapper 2 Chainz posted a Snapchat that seemed to confirm that the secret Kanye gig at Webster Hall nightclub in the East Village was on. Within minutes, according to multiple reports, thousands of people crowded around the East Village venue. Lines snaked around the block.
Security warned that anyone who wasn’t on the sidewalk couldn’t attend the show, but at around 12:40 a.m., the crowd started to get restless, then stampeded and broke windshields. Some people even passed out, reports The Daily Beast, which called the night “an insane scavenger hunt” for a Kanye show.
It was estimated that some 4,000 people crammed into the street. Webster Hall can only handle 1,500.
[lz_third_party includes=”https://twitter.com/DeePhunk/status/739686845924159489″ width=”630px”]
When a large postal truck arrived to make an unrelated delivery next to the theater, things got worse, as people flooded into the middle of the street.
Some would-be concertgoers climbed on top of the rig. Others kept pushing forward to try to get into the venue. One man told The Daily Beast that the mob was getting unruly and physical. “You can’t go anywhere. You can’t even breathe. People are just pushing each other. I love you, Kanye — but it’s not worth it.”
(For all the craziness, there was only one arrest for disorderly conduct, according to The New York Times.)
Kanye tweeted right around 1 a.m. that the show was “SOLD OUT,” even though no tickets were ever on sale. And his wife began doing a livestream of the scene from inside their car.
They arrived around 1:30 a.m., with Kanye popping up out of the roof of the car and yelling at people. He apparently spoke to police, according to various tweets. But it was all so out-of-control that a show never occurred.
[lz_third_party includes=”https://twitter.com/TeamKanyeDaily/status/739791876610531328″ width=”630px”]
Webster Hall notified everyone at 1:45 a.m. there would be no show, but the crowd was slow to disperse. Finally, nearly an hour later, dozens of officers from the New York City Police Department’s Strategic Response Group began telling people to go home.
It had already been a big day for Kanye — he and Kim took their daughter North to see “The Lion King” on Broadway. On Wednesday, he’ll celebrate his 39th birthday. Who knows what will happen next.