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Kanye West follows Sunday Service with new album reveal at the Fox

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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DETROIT -- Just hours after rocking the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre with his Sunday Service show on Friday, Sept. 27, Kanye West gave fans an Experience at the Fox Theatre that they won't soon forget.

The multi-platinum rapper announced his "Jesus Is King: A Kanye West Experience" at the conclusion of the Sunday Service, with the free tickets scooped up within minutes. The 70-minute program included "works in progress" IMAX documentaries about some of West's architectural endeavors around the world and about his Sunday Service collective choir -- which West introduced from a VIP box on the Fox mezzanine -- but the highlight was a sneak preview of his highly anticipated new album "Jesus is King," which was slated to come out on Friday but is now due Sunday, Sept. 29, according to West's wife Kim Kardashian West.

West, stationed at the mixing board in the center of the Fox floor, played the album himself for the crowd of about 1,000 (including some Detroit Pistons players) -- getting vociferous approval for the austere 10-track, 35-minute set that blended spiritual testimony with austere production heavy on beats and keyboard textures supporting West's fierce vocal flow. With the album cover static on the IMAX-sized screen, arm-waving fans -- one of whom shouted for "Free Bird" at one point -- crammed around West's station, interacting with the rapper as he introduced each song by name and offered occasional tidbits, such as guest features by the rap duo Clipse and saxophonist Kenny G on the closing track, "Use This Gospel."

The clear first-listen favorite, however, was the throbbing "Closed on Sunday," whose refrain of "just like Chic-Fil-A" was picked up so quickly that West began pulling the sound down briefly to let the crowd carry the lyric during the choruses.

Before the Experience, fans -- whose cell phones and smart watches were stashed in Yonder bags as they entered -- were intermittently excited by West aids randomly handing out free T-shirts and sweatshirts, and by an IMAX crew filming the proceedings.

West gave no hint about when "Jesus Is King" will be released; Kardashian revealed Sunday, as well as the album's track list, on social media. Nor did he reveal additional credits and insight into the songs. After "Hands On," however, he did note that, "We're all trying our best. We all fall short, but I appreciate y'all hanging with us."

The gratitude at the Fox was certainly mutual.

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