The final day of Governors Ball could be summed up in one word: Kanye. Some fans waited all day at the main stage just to catch a glimpse of the man, the myth. We’re talking nearly 11 hours of straight standing here. While others ditched the two performers playing at 8 o’clock to spend an hour and a half staking out the perfect viewing spot.
Kanye started the show with previously-revealed songs “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves” before sampling other tracks (the EDM-ish “On Site” and “I Am A God,” which sounded a bit like Nine Inch Nails) off his upcoming album, Yeezus, out June 18. There was one other new song — or at least a new interlude, as it was quite brief — played after “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves,” which kicked off the set at around 9:50 p.m. (20 minutes late). West played for his allotted hour and a half, albeit that was over schedule since he started late. He also ranted about why fans won’t be hearing songs from his new album on the radio anytime soon.
Unsurprisingly, the crowd was at its most animated for the handful of hits West played. “Power” featured what felt like the entirety of the festival clapping along — literally thousands of folks crammed together as far as the eye could see — and “Stronger” felt new with a more abrasive beat. But it was “All of the Lights” and “Runaway” that “really got the people going,” as the Throne would say.
That said, it was almost strange to hear ‘Ye play early material, seeing as he’s actively trying to create a new narrative around himself. He tried to tweak a number of the old songs, but it’s hard to tell if the crowd valued that — they were screaming along too loudly to even notice.
Kanye was certainly the night’s big draw, but there were a lot of other great performances from the day, including out-shadowed fellow headliners, The Avett Brothers.
The crowd for The Avett Brothers‘ headlining set might have been the smallest the North Carolina folk trio have seen in quite some time. The turnout was no fault of their own. But despite competing with one of the most popular and controversial entertainers from the past decade, the band delivered a show worthy of festival headliner status. They had the hundreds in front of them singing along to the piano driven “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise,” setting the tone for their entire set. A hoedown ensued on the mud covered dance floor towards the end of “Laundry Room,” segueing into a standup bass solo from Bob Crawford. Following energetic performances of “Talk on Indolence” and “At The Beach,” brothers Scott and Seth took the spotlight for the household anthem “Murder In The City.” Once the applause died down, the silence was filled with bass and the chorus to Kanye’s “Heartless.”
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“Are y’all still with us?” Seth Avett asked, perhaps delivering a mindful, light-hearted joke to the situation. “We’re so happy to be here with you on this fine evening, y’all.” Scott Avett kept the energy high, jumping into the crowd during “Kick Drum Heart.” The band concluded their set before the 11PM cutoff, but came back out on stage for an encore. “We might have one more left in us, y’all,” said Seth Avett. “Thanks for asking.” They concluded the encore with “I And Love And You,” which, as if almost synced purposely, was filled immediately by the vocals of Syleena Johnson from Kanye’s “All Fall Down.”