CODY, Wyo. — Thousands turned out to the Powwow Garden at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo. Saturday to see Kanye West perform a free Sunday Service.
The free service is a different kind of cultural event then the town of Cody is used to.
“It was really cool for them to get a taste of something different, from a different place," said Buffalo Bill Center Public Relations Manager Levi Meyer. “Not necessarily quintessential ‘old west' or Wyoming. I think people were very surprised and very uplifted after the performance.”
People came from as far away as Washington and Utah to see West, and an 80-member choir perform about 14 songs. The set lasted about one and a half hours.
Jacob Featherston is a 22-year-old Kanye West fan from the Salt Lake City area. Featherston and his friends got on the road at 2 a.m. Sunday to make it to the service.
“I had seen videos on line and everything like that,” Featherston said. "So I kind of knew what was going to happen. But honestly, it exceeded all expectations.”
West and his cohorts played a mix of traditional gospel standards, pop hits with a gospel twist and gospel renditions of some of West's hits.
From his discography, West performed "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1" and "Lost in the World." The group also performed gospel renditions of well known hits such as “Come As You Are” by Nirvana and “Shout” by Tears for Fears.
The rest of the service was filled with plenty of gospel music, complete with all the clapping and hand raising one would expect.
West yielded the stage to his choir director for a majority of the performance.
West only took the mic for one verse on “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1.” The only other time he drew attention was when he played a djembe drum solo during “Lost in the World” with another member of the band.
“I think it shows what he is really trying to do,” Featherston said. “I feel like he is showing that it’s not about him. It’s about bringing people together and bringing people closer to god.
At one point in the show, the choir director asked the crowd if it had been to church this morning.
“If you didn’t, we hope you had church with us today,” the choir director said.