Every good study needs a control group, and hip-hop’s mad scientist seems happy to oblige. Weeks after Lollapalooza dodged the super-spreader label by requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test, Kanye West is set to host tens of thousands of people at his Chicago Donda listening party, and he won’t be requiring either of those safety precautions (via the Chicago Tribune and New York Post.)
Update: ASM Global Management, the operators of Soldier Field, will have 1,500 doses of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines available for willing patrons. As TMZ reports, City of Chicago health officials will also be on-site to help those getting their first dose of Pfizer schedule a second. West is not involved with the vaccination program.
This will be the third such listening party, following a pair of events at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in late July and early August. The event takes place at Soldier Field on Thursday, August 26th at 10:00 p.m. ET/ 9:00 p.m. CT. Soldier Field doesn’t have a roof or dome, and the outdoor concert won’t fall under Chicago’s indoor mask mandate. But in the slightest of nods to the ongoing pandemic, attendance will be capped at 38,000 people, which is far below the venue’s max capacity of around 63,000.
Given that the listening party is both outdoors and (because of the reduced capacity) somewhat socially distanced, the outcome might not be dire. In fact, the City of Chicago sees cause for optimism.
“Kanye West’s performance is one of many examples that show that Chicago can be open and safe at the same time,” Chicago Park District spokesperson Michele Lemons said. “We have worked with Soldier Field on COVID-19 safety protocols, as we have other venues including Wrigley and Guaranteed Rate Fields, and feel this event can be safely held with the proper mitigation efforts in place.”
Let’s hope she’s right. At the very least, the attendees of the Donda concert ought to be treated to a memorable show; West is reportedly building a recreation of his childhood home in the middle of Soldier Field. Who knows what other surprises might be in store, though the biggest surprise of all would be if he actually released the album. Tickets to the concert are available through Ticketmaster.
This continues a period of transition for West, who may not be called West much longer; the recently-divorced rapper has filed paperwork to change his name to Ye. But the more things change, the more they stay the same: West has rekindled his feud with Drake, and briefly doxxed his rival earlier this week.
Editor’s Note: Grab our Ye-inspired T-shirt, the Phantom of the Stadium, now available at Consequence Shop.