Kanye West - US Airways Center - 12/10/2013

Categories: Last Night

As he jumped into "Cold" he changed into an all-black outfit with a black sparkling face mask and a gold chain dangling from his neck. It was during the line, "Don't talk to me about style, I .... embarrass you," that I realized the truth of that statement, as I looked around in amazement at the sound, lights, clothing, set and philosophy that Kanye and DONDA put together for the Yeezus tour.

During "I Am a God" the models, who made frequent appearances throughout the show, picked him up and held him, and then another mountain rose on the front of the stage, which led inevitably to Yeezus delivering his sermon, or rap, from the mount.

A Chewbacca-like figure joined him on stage, serving mostly as a prop roaming the background, but paired with the monotone-looking models it made me realize just how creepy this show would have been if this wasn't a big arena concert.

People like to claim that Kanye doesn't know what he's doing, but he knows exactly what he's doing: he has a vision and he executes it. This was clear when a Sistine Chapel image was portrayed on the circle screen circling him as he performed, while laying on the floor, and the models circled him.

I couldn't help thinking: are we boring Yeezus? Why is he rapping from the floor?

It was hard to shake the feeling that we were all at church, especially when people put their hands up in rapture, as if they were in a performative church informed by the avant-garde aesthetics of the Holy Mountain and Kanye's wave of hip hop, which he labeled as his new demo tape to the world.

When "Blood on the Leaves" came on, the lights all went off, except for red spotlights; fire exploded from the mountain behind him as it turned red and orange from the lava that flowed from the top. In that moment, I thought about that famous Kanye quote--"My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live," It sounds like an impossibly silly thing to say out of context, but the Yeezus tour is incredible--everyone should be able to experience it.

The sky on the round screen above him portrayed an image of a sky on fire as the lava kept flowing, then suddenly, like Moses parting the Red Sea, Yeezus split the white mountain behind him, as the creepy models reemerged on the runway in a Catholic procession shaking censers that scented the stage. Others walked with long, white, lit candles, a large wooden cross, and an icon of Virgin Mary, while Kanye came out in a trenchcoat, the Wooden Cross behind him.

At this point, he had a white facemask on, and I was starting to wonder if we were all actually seeing Kanye West. Who was behind the mask? It made me think he was taking the religious metaphor as far as he could: we've never seen the true face of God, so thus the crowd would not be allowed to see Yeezus' true face.

This proved false shortly after, once he finally took off the last of his Margiella face masks. Then the moment I had been both expecting and waiting for came: a Kanye monologue.

My Voice Nation Help

"will go down as one of the best tours of all time" ??? Seriously?

I get Kanye. Actually appreciate what the guy has done and is doing. Not many late 40-something white guys are in the same boat with me.

Conceptually, it's a great show. Technically, it was a hot mess. He stopped the show twice - once to get the lights right. Second time to get the music right. He also complained about having echo in his monitors. 

While the show was rich on message and imagery it was lacking in energy. Maybe it was an off night but not exemplary of a "best tour of all time".

66rock topcommenter

This guy is such a prima donna, a real diva.  And it is upsetting to hear him even Hint at putting himself in the same category as Michael Jackson in any way at all.

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