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In His Drive to be Number One, Kanye Might Find it Lonely at the Top

I was lucky enough to get a ticket to Kanye's Glow in the Dark Tour when it passed through San Diego in April(I know, late pass) and I have to say that it was an amazing spectacle.

The minute we arrived, there were a couple different lines going
all the way around the sports arena and out to the parking lot.
The line was filled with hype beasts, women asking Kanye to have their babies (so their shirt said), girls who were dressed way to inappropriately for a concert (seriously, dress and heals when you have standing room on the floor?!), and of course plenty of people wearing "KANYE GLASSES"

1st up on the lineup was Lupe Fiasco. I personally really like Lupe. People, for some reason, got all bent out of shape over fiascogate and seem to forget that he is one of the best lyricists out there and puts out some damn good music. Lupe put on a great show, especially considering the shitty acoustics of the arena. The crowd finally got on their feet when he started playing some of his radio hits and he proceeded to keep the crowd moving for a solid hour. Lupe brought out some amazing back up singers and lyricists including his boy Matthew Santos. Although I prefer Lupe's performances in smaller venues, his music (especially the new stuff) translated well to a stadium setting.

Next up was N.E.R.D. It very well could have been the acoustics but you couldn't make out a lot of their lyrics unless you knew the songs, the balance seemed way off. That aside, they put on an energetic performance that got the crowd hyped and even played their new song Everybody Nose.

The last opener was Rihanna. I'm not a big fan of her music. I don't think she's bad and making music or anything, I just personally though the best part of her set was her hilarious outfit that pretty much mapped out all of her erogenous zones. I have never seen someone try to do so much on stage (with dancers and everything else going on) and have it do so little for the performance.

So after the three openers, the crowd is hyped, the stadium is packed and everybody is just waiting in anticipation for the main event. Now let me preface this with this:
I am a huge fan of Kanye, I loved his "old" stuff and I really like his new stuff, especially his willingness to not stick with the same stuff everyone loved as it got old, but to push boundaries and stay relevant (sorry all you hip hop "heads"/haters, I know you probably don't agree). When Kanye dropped his most recent mixtape, I got goosebumps when he sampled daft punk and was hooked till the end. I remember turning to some friend of mine (not particularly fond of Kanye) and warned,"I will probably be jocking Kanye a lot for a while."(that was an understatement) I think if he is not the number one artist out right now (notice how I say artist, not just musician), he is definitely at the top.

So while everyone waits upwards of an hour (with the same loop of songs playing over and over), the crowd grows anxious. Finally the curtain raises and the crowd goes nuts. Kanye then wastes no time putting on the most energetic and wild spectacle I have ever seen at a concert, complete with flashing lights, an erotic robot, holographic dancers, fog machines , a corny story line, and a live band. He even found a way to change up the way that he delivered lines or the way he sung the chorus so it didn't feel like you came to a giant CD listening party.

He finally did it, he reached stadium status. Kanye's drive and perfectionism showed in his performance, not only in every little detail of the concert, but in his inability to let the little things slide. Right at the start, some of the light boards in the floor went out and Kanye could not stop looking at them. He had a hard time moving on and often would go over in interludes to yell at the controls guys. He would, in mid song, yell at a camera guy to get in the correct position (as it was all choreographed out). I think most people wouldn't have even realized this had they not been sitting in my position but I did find it interesting, although distracting at times.

The one thing that urked me the most about Kanye's performance was the total lack of any features. In the back, you have Pharrell and Lupe, who he has done songs with in the past, just chillin. He didn't pop out during either of their performances to do any songs. (None of the others did either but Lupe hopped out during N.E.R.D. but only to sing backgrounds on one song.) The weirdest thing is that one of the last songs was "Touch the Sky" and he didn't bring out Lupe. Now I know it wouldn't have made sense with the whole story line but I think that the energy between the two on stage would have outweighed the oddity of lupe just appearing in space to perform. After the show was done, there was no call for encore, the house lights popped on quick and people flooded out quicker than I have seen in a long time at a show.

Kanye put on an amazing performance (that's an understatement) and it was definitely worth the money but it got me thinking. Kanye is more popular than he has ever been. He is getting radio play like never before, wilin' out on fashion even more and taking himself to new heights in everything he enjoys doing. I honestly think that even with the amount he is being embraced right now, people are still not ready for what he is capable of artistically. During the performance I couldn't help but notice how detached his performance seemed to be from everyone else's, how everything seemed so separate.

I realize that this is just one opinion and it's pretty hard to please everyone in the crowd. I'm sure Kanye is not about to leave anybody behind and, if nothing else, he will inspire those around him to step their game up, but he can't control their ability to keep up.

More than anything I am over analyzing the shit out of the greatest show on earth currently touring and for all I know, the SD show was the only one like this. Then again, have you listened to his new single? Either way, if you missed out, I guess you better hope a DVD comes out!


mike said...

straight out of this world, sonn.

lol.. great, a blog full of kanye stans.

dee said...
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dee said...
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dee said...

there is NO doubt that kanye's show was madd innovative and amazing to watch (i caught his san jose show at the hp in april as well). but i definitely agree that it was extremely detached... detached from everyone else's performances and also from the audience. what urked me the most was that there wasn't any kind of crowd interaction during the whole show. we literally sat there just to WATCH kanye himself. it wasn't even until after the first few songs that i realized he had a live band with him (then again, that could just be because i was in the upper level).

the thing is, only kanye could pull off some crazy sh!t like that. as a friend of mine said, there's something extremely entertaining about watching someone with an ego that big...

i've got mixed reactions. don't get it twisted, i'm a huge kanye fan myself and think his show was definitely worth the money, but that was seriously the first time i've left a concert/show without an encore and the first time i've seen people rush out like ants on a mission the minute the the last song ended.

i didn't know what to expect at his show, but i honestly wasn't expecting what i got that night.

adrian said...


I'll prolly hate him in a month.

adrian said...

Dee, I couldn't agree more. The only time I saw the crowd leave faster than that was when Ghost Face Killah came to UCI and after asking all the women to come dance on stage, told all the women to come to his hotel, not guys though, and peaced out. Everyone just kinds looked at him odd and walked ou.

But yeah, everyone rushed out, they didn't even ask for an encore, I don't think they knew what had hit em.

dee said...

haha, seriously, right? we tried for about a good 7 seconds and then the lights came on. almost every show i've been to, even if the lights came on, folks were still stompin, hootin, and hollerin. not here though.