Fans of Kanye West’s sold-out ‘Vultures’ premiere still want to believe

On Monday night (Feb. 5), Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign released a mysterious tweet on social media, hinting at a listening session in Chicago for Vultures, the musicians’ debut joint project as hip-hop combo. “Vultures United Centre Chicago 02 08 24,” the tweet stated without providing any other information.

It was first met with scepticism, as the United Centre did not have the concert posted on their programme, and the album’s release date had altered several times. However, when it was announced on the venue’s website first thing the next day, with tickets going on sale at 3 p.m. local time, fans were eager to get their hands on a golden ticket. Before 6 p.m., the album release party, called Vultures Listening Experience, had officially sold out.  

Fans were eager for an early listen to the long-awaited album, which was originally scheduled to be published on December 15 but was then pushed back to December 31 and January 12. While the album was expected to be released at midnight on Friday (Feb. 9), it has yet to arrive as of press time.
outside 7 p.m., supporters crowded outside the United Centre, mostly young teens wearing big, dark-hued hoodies or puffers, cargo pants and their favourite sneakers, as rain and thunderstorms cleared. Before the doors opened, Billboard spoke with three friends who had driven from Virginia to Chicago. When questioned about his hopes for this event, Mauricio, the group’s de facto spokesperson, responded with a single word. “Visuals,” he stated clearly.

“The music is just in the background.”

Sterling from New Hampshire stood next to Mauricio and his buddies. “As soon as the event went on sale on Tuesday, I was able to buy a $235 ticket but it was a battle with Ticketmaster because the site would go down,” he said. “My jaw would touch the floor, but I managed to get in. Then I purchased a Greyhound ticket, boarded the bus, rented a hotel, and spent about $1,000. I’ve been longing to see Kanye for ten years. I’m just glad to be in the same building with him.”

Gates opened just after 8 p.m., and people were permitted inside the venue, where official paraphernalia — black tees, white sweatpants, and shorts emblazoned with the Vultures emblem — was offered. Once inside, you were met with a misty view of the scarcely visible stage, which had been erected from an open space encircled by white flags bearing the Vultures’ logo.

Chance the Rapper was in attendance and made a spectacular entrance with an entourage in tow, waving to fans who recognised the hometown hero. He settled in and waited patiently for the listening session to begin, as did everyone else there. And it did, about 10:10 p.m., an hour after the scheduled start time.

The audience erupted in applause when Ye and Ty entered the stage. Some of the songs were played throughout the night were “Burn,” “Paperwork,” “Everybody,” “Carnival,” “Vultures,” “Hoodrat,” “Paid,” and “Talking/Once Again,” which featured a special performance by North West. Undoubtedly, the 10-year-old’s entrance onstage was one of the night’s highlights, with the entire audience cheering her on when she was heard rapping alongside her legendary father.

While the 12 songs played during the listening session were welcomed with acclaim and approval from fans who nodded along to every rhythm, they were taken aback when the music stopped and the venue’s lights turned on, signalling the end of the show. As if on cue, the puzzled audience checked their phones after the event ended. To their amazement (or perhaps not), the album had not yet been released.

Ye and Ty are scheduled to host another listening event today at New York’s UBS Arena. The following are the key conclusions from Chicago’s Vultures Listening Experience event:

A Nod to Chicago

Local DJ Pharris made sure to remind everyone that they were in Ye’s hometown while paying tribute to Chicago rappers’ music. Songs from Juice WRLD, Chief Keef, Lil Durk, and, of course, Chicago’s own Kanye West were played to energise the audience. “Where are the Day One fans?” the DJ inquired. He went on to play songs from Ye’s The College Dropout, which is commemorating its twentieth anniversary.

“It’s Your Bestie”

When North West took the stage for “Talking/Once Again,” she stole the show. “Chicago, make some noise for Miss West,” Ty instructed as she boldly strolled up clothed in an enormous garment and sporting what appeared to be a fuzzy dark trapper hat. The crowd immediately began to cheer as they witnessed a wonderful moment between North and Ye, who greeted his daughter with a huge hug. She remained on stage as “Everybody” played, dancing and jumping around with the duo.

The Special Guests

Those who purchased tickets had no idea what to anticipate from the event, let alone whether any of the album’s contributors would be on stage with Ye and Ty. Only a few special guests appeared, including North West for “Talking/Once Again,” YG for “Do It,” and Bump J for “Vultures.”

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