This was my second time in 3 days seeing Kanye West, and even though I thought he might have not been able to sustain the lofty heights of his Big Day Out performance, Yeezy definitely wiped the floor of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl clean with a killer show.
Before Kanye took to the stage Sneaky Sound System warmed the crowd up for him and did an amazing job — but there was no denying who the Melbourne punters were there to see!
The main event started with one waifish girl in a flesh coloured leotard running back and forth on the stage. She was flailing about in torment, and seemed to have forgotten her pants in the midst of her anguish. To add further insult to injury she was also suffering the most intense wedgie that the music bowl stage had ever experienced!
Turns out this look was no accident as she was soon joined by a hoard of at least 30 bottom jiggling dancers, all running riot on stage with a series of seemingly erratic (but carefully choreographed) movements. They then busted some serious gyrations on stage, with an angry tribal influence, and mesmerised us all. Mad props to choreographer Yumi — she did an amazing job!
There was a bit of contention as to where these dancers had come from. Were they plucked from obscurity at Ms Jenny’s Wodongah school of Calisthenics to dance for Kanye? Or does Kanye West genuinely travel the world with 30 sexy dancers at all times, even though they were only present for four songs in a 150 min set? I guess we’ll never know. Perhaps there is just some magic that is best left unknown.
Anyway, moving on.
Kanye West emerged (as he did at the Big Day Out) in a stream of smoke, on a scissor lift mounted midway through the crowd. As he rose up the song Dark Fantasy suitably played, and the crowd went crazy.
Never someone to shy away from theatrics, Kanye’s set was divided into three ‘acts,’ all chock full of all the hits we love, and some I’d completely forgotten about!
This was one of the most self-indulgent concerts I’ve ever seen — but that’s kind of what you anticipate from Kanye West anyway. The set was over two hours long, and there were plenty of diva moments peppered throughout it.
A few times Kanye quipped to the lighting desk that they had the settings wrong: “I’m supposed to be blue and the background’s red yo!” and during All Of The Lights he insisted on starting over twice because the crowd hadn’t articulated one of the lines clearly enough: “I can hear all the white guys whistling, but I just want you to say the line!”
All in all this is what made the show so authentic though, and made us love Kanye even more.
Most amusingly there were also a couple of ‘soapbox’ moments, where he literally got up on a 1m high podium and had an auto-tuned rant about whatever was on his mind.
When I heard the first of these at Big Day Out it sounded like this:
“I text my ex-girlfriend at 11pm, and she didn’t text back. I text again and 2am, and she didn’t text back. Why isn’t she texting me back? I’m lonely.”
After a second listen last night though, I realised the whole thing was tongue in cheek and not as whiney as I first thought. It was pretty hilarious. Turns out Yeezy has a keen sense of humour and was even laughing along with the ludicrous nature of his sung monologue.
Love Lockdown was a definite performance highlight. The dancers were back again looking like tortured extras from Black Swan and Kanye gave a simple but wrenching performance of the track.
Each hit Kanye performed at this concert was full of life, fat beats, mean rhymes and as much crowd amping as he could muster. Even though we were a bit exhausted by the show at the end of it all, no-one could argue that Kanye West hadn’t given it every ounce of energy that he possessed.
It was Kanye’s last show in Australia for this year, and he promised the crowd he wants to return soon. We can’t wait.
I give his show 9 exposed bottom cheeks out of 10.