Kanye West took the stage for Bonnaroo 2014. As the headliner for the opening night of the festival, he took the stage within nine minutes of his scheduled performance time. This was much different from his last Bonnaroo appearance in 2008, when he arrived hours late. Kanye addressed that incident during one of several monologues that took place in between songs. "Before I performed in 2008, they had 'fuck Kanye on the port a pottys' but this year, 'fuck those port a pottys,'" Kanye said. He also attributed the lengthy delay on outside circumstances. "I did this shit 6 months after my mom passed," he said. "Pearl Jam played late. I went on when the sun was rising."
While Kanye touched on the past, his focus was on the present. "I ain't going after nobody on the radio," he declared. "I'm goin' after Shakespeare. Walt Disney. Mozart. Henry Ford. Howard Hughes. David Stern. Elon Musk. You can only achieve as high as your dreams." Later on, he asked the audience, "Where the press at?"
Some suggested that Kanye was booed during his set tonight. While this does not seem apparent from video footage that has gone online, there is video of the crowd chanting "Kanye sucks" at one point. Despite the audience's agitation for stretches of the performance, it seemed as though Kanye had total command of the audience throughout the night, with the crowd singing his lyrics back to him.
Kanye started his set off with "Black Skinhead." He proceeded to perform songs from throughout his catalogue, ranging from "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" to more recent offerings from Yeezus and Cruel Summer. He also told the audience that new music is "about to drop."