Sunday, November 27, 2005


This past weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of taking in Kanye West's set at Nokia Live in Grand Prarie, TX. My lovely wife and I showed up right before Ye's set began--missing R&B breakout Keyshia Cole and American Idol winner Fantasia (c'mon now, can we PLEASE get more than two female R&B vocalist to open up for a hip hop act?!). Kanye came on with a clap of thunder--jumping right into some of his deep album cuts from Late Registration and College Dropout. His performance and stage presence was sharp and he worked that crowd like a part-time job--running from stage left to stage right like a ping pong ball. My lovely wife bobbed her head and, b'lee this, even "threw her hands in the air" when commanded to like a true sport. I have a few complaints however, those bright, blinding lights that have the effect of staring at the sun through a magnifying glass are not cool. First time I came across these lights was at the Lubbock Kiss/Ted Nugent concert and swore I was going to leave blind. I don't mind dangerous pyrotechnics. I don't mind $7 Shiner Bocks (okay, I do and shame on you, Nokia Live, for charging $7 for any beer much less one made in Texas). I don't mind deafening bass. I don't mind the contact high I got from the goof ball two rows down who couldn't wait to get out of the concert before spliffing up. But please don't use those lights again. Every time they came on, I got teary eyed. I could hardly see the road on the way home on account of the overusage of those damned lights. They're not necessary. The spotlight should be on the artist, not on the audience. If you've stared into these lights, then you know exactly what I mean. Other than that, excellent performance. Kanye is the Elton John of Hip Hop. He's so freaking over the top and his ego can hardly fit on stage, but you gotta hand it to the guy, he makes quality music and is quite the entertainer. The white suit though (as seen above with the beautiful angel wings to accessorize) screams all-too-loudly "Puff Daddy!" And when he does his little scoot across stage you'd swear you were at a Diddy show.

On the way home, my lovely wife and I had an enchanting conversation about the performance. She stated that she was expecting a lot more. I joked about him letting a thousand doves loose from inside his jacket or, in the spirit of the great Girth Brooks, making it rain or, perhaps, making it rain money. She wanted that Vegas show, like David Blaine, Celine Dion er something with people flying through the air, pianos taking flight and soaring high above the audience. I told her that I couldn't see him doing that, after all, it is hip hop. You're supposed to get up there, flex how nice you are, maybe make a political statement, dance your ass off and then close with the crowd favorite--leave the big stuff to the Blue Man Group.

Of course, if there was any dull moments during the show, you could fill in the excitement by watching the couple to the right of me who, at one moment, had each other in a full body lock bumping and rubbing on each other--the "climax" coming during "Slow Jamz" when the woman wrapped her legs completely around her companion, locked her feet on the back side of his body and began flapping on his front side like a flag in a brisk afternoon breeze. It was straight-up freaky but funny to watch.

Another interesting note, this guy's whistle was the most incredible thing I've ever heard. First time he let that thing out, I frantically covered my ears thinking something was going horribly wrong with the main speakers. It almost made my ears bleed, I tell you. He hit notes I didn't think existed.

Overall, a solid hip hop show, but no magic. Geez, whaddya expect?

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