Kanye wrapped up his Jesus is King festivities last night at the United Palace theater located in the heart of Manhattan’s Washington Heights.
Eager fans were hit with a surprise ticket drop a few hours before the event, which was announced earlier in the day following the artist’s New York edition Sunday Service. The free listening session, dubbed “Jesus is King – A Kanye West Experience New York,” offered thousands the first album listening experience in the theater offering a seating capacity for 3,400 guests. Upon entering, attendants were required to lock their phones in Yondr pouches. But of course, that didn’t stop fans from prying them open or whipping out a second phone to capture the event.
After Kanye made a late appearance, the evening kicked off with a short film documenting Kanye’s dome-shaped housing project, and was followed by a short screening of the Jesus is King IMAX film which is hitting theaters next month. The project showcased his collaboration with visionaries including American artist James Turrell and British photographer Nick Knight, who directed the film. Throughout the screenings, North and Saint West were on stage dancing to the gospel soundtracks as they were silhouetted against the big screen while Kim sat to the side of the stage watching the performances unfold.
As Kanye took up the mic to prologue his album, he called for the audience to stand up, prompting people to flood the walking aisles and even the stage. The crowd was fully immersed in the tracks, with standout moments including a chorus of fans echoing “closed on Sunday, you’re my Chick-fil-A.” The largely gospel-heavy album also featured a Pi’erre Bourne beat as well as a solo by saxophonist Kenny G. The songs streamed for a little over half an hour, showcasing a shift from Kanye’s past work into a lyric-centric body of work that was slated for release yesterday.
While fans are anticipating a delayed album release, Kanye’s Jesus is King merch which was available at the event is available now for purchase on his website.