Kanye West promises to make up chaotic, canceled surprise NYC show

Kanye West
Kanye West, shown during a 2015 performance at the Hollywood Bowl.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

When Kanye West’s headlining set at Governors Ball was canceled Sunday due to inclement weather, the polarizing rapper had a very West-esque idea: A pop-up surprise concert.

A superstar talent doing a pop-up show in the middle of the night, though a commendable idea, turned out to be logistical nightmare that was over before it began as thousands of fans packed the street.  

After Governors Ball was forced to cancel its third day of performers early Sunday, West — who was set to close the festival at Randall’s Island Park — still wanted to deliver music to fans. 

First he showed up at another New York-centric festival, the infamous Hot 97 Summer Jam at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The rap fest was also forced to give in to the threat of severe weather, canceling its outdoor pre-show and delaying the main festival stage show inside the stadium.

At Summer Jam, West performed “Champions” (still a working title) alongside Big Sean, Pusha T, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz and Desiigner. The track is the first offering from “Cruel Winter,” the eagerly awaited sequel to “Cruel Summer,” West’s 2012 compilation album anchored by his G.O.O.D Music roster of acts.

Following his Summer Jam appearance, the rapper’s creative director Virgil Abloh announced the early morning pop-up show. 

"We're doing PABLO at 2 am in Manhattan. sorting out where now," Abloh wrote in an Instagram post alongside a photo of West working on a set list.

Rumors circulated that he’d be appearing at Webster Hall with Vic Mensa, who moved his set to the venue after Governors Ball pulled the plug on performances (Mensa even purchased the first 150 tickets for fans). 

The scene outside of Webster Hall unfolded over social media late Sunday as scores of fans descended upon the venue long before the 2 a.m. start time.

Kim Kardashian West posted a video of her husband telling someone on the phone — presumably a flustered flak - to get in touch with NYC mayor Bill DeBlasio. “Shut down a block of about four streets and put some screens up, so they can have a party outside. I know its sold out already.”

A party, or a show, never happened, as thousands of fans filled the streets in a chaotic scene that many called a “near riot.” 

Videos we saw on social media showed fans chanting West’s name and trying to inch toward the venue. Shortly before the show’s scheduled start, the venue said the show wouldn’t go on and asked fans outside to "get home safely."

West greeted as many fans as he could, standing up alongside Scott through the sunroof of a car, with his wife promising that he planned on making it up to fans. 

Follow me on Twitter @gerrickkennedy

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