Indio, California (tca/dpa) – After a Saturday at Coachella capped by an after-midnight cameo at Gucci Mane’s Sahara tent set, rapper Kanye West awakened early – or, just as likely, never went to bed – to celebrate Easter with a Sunday service

In recent months the chart-topping artist had been leading family friends and celebrities in a closely guarded, weekly gospel-music-focused spiritual service at the Calabasas home he shares with his wife, Kim Kardashian, and their children.

Sunday’s public Coachella version, which was also live-streamed, was the first morning performance in the festival’s 20-year history, and West made the most of it.

With a 100-singer-strong gospel choir, a band with a dozen percussionists, a harpist, bassist, the occasional Roland beatbox, and, most important, a church organ, the controversial artist celebrated Jesus’ resurrection with a full-on gospel celebration.

Thousands of Coachella attendees, including celebrities Childish Gambino, Jaden and Willow Smith, Idris Elba, Lizzo and the entire Kardashian clan, set their alarms for West’s “Yeaster” service, a testament to his continued creative vibrancy and tabloid star power.

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INDIO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 21: Kanye West performs Sunday Service during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 21, 2019 in Indio, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella)

 

“If it wasn’t for Kanye, I don’t think anyone would be here this early,” said Kyle Garcia of Chino Hills. He saw West at the Sahara tent eight hours earlier, and rather than go to sleep he just stayed up.

The artist, who last year in a meeting with President Donald Trump wore a Make American Great Again hat while telling him that it “made me feel like Superman”, didn’t utter the president’s name on Sunday.

Rather, he, a preacher, singers and dancers renewed their allegiance to Jesus with a fervent display of worship

The 41-year-old rapper gave the festival crowd a taste of what it’s like to attend one of his famous Sunday church services at his star-studded set on The Mountain hilltop at the festival in California, which saw the Gold Digger hitmaker backed by his own gospel choir.

Kanye opened with a series of covers and kicked off proceedings with his version of Stevie Wonder’s Do I Do into Kool & The Gang‘s Summer Madness and The Gap Band‘s Outstanding.

 

INDIO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 21: Kanye West performs Sunday Service during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 21, 2019 in Indio, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella)

 

After powering through 25 songs, a mix of covers and renditions of his own hits, Kim’s husband surprised fans with the live debut of his new track

He simply told the crowd: “It’s called Water.”

“I didn’t see it coming,” Taylor Scott, 25, said. “I was prepared to put Easter on the back burner for Coachella, but Kanye kind of brought it here.”

Even skeptics know that West’s turn toward God isn’t manufactured. He’s long wrestled with religion and sought solace in spirituality, most famously in 2004’s Jesus Walks, which he exuberantly performed near the end of the service.

As he told Vibe magazine in 2009, “I just think God has put me in a really good space. And I think he has a mission for me. There’s gonna be ups and downs. But it’s something that he wants me to deliver to the world.”

On Sunday, he did it while perched atop a two-tiered, sod-covered mound and surrounded by a drum circle

Across more than two hours, the band worked atop the hill as dozens of singers danced and moved in circles around them, overtaken by the musical spirit.

Near the conclusion, fellow Chicago rapper-entrepreneur Chance the Rapper ascended the mound to perform Ultralight Beam, a glorious celebration of life that seemed to lift the emotions of the well-travelled visitors.

Scott said that she was feeling a little guilty for missing her Easter programme back home in LA. Waiting in a long line to buy exclusive “Sunday Service” West merchandise, she found it “crazy how he could bring so many people together, especially on an Easter service.”

Calling herself “very religious”, Scott said, “I felt bad that I was going to miss out on a service, but Kanye actually brought it to Coachella. It’s strange to think that that’s possible – gospel to Coachella. But if anybody can do it, it’s Kanye.”

 

Author: ANA Entertainment