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Image for Kanye West @ Sydney Entertainment Centre (27/1/2012)

Kanye West @ SydneyEntertainment Centre(27/1/2012)

Kanye West is one of the most acclaimed musicians of his generation and a certified, name-up-in-lights superstar, yet a live Kanye performance nonetheless seems a bit problematic on paper. His records are heavily collaborative affairs, cherry picking the biggest names from his genre and beyond to realise his visions of kaleidoscope, wide-screen extravaganzas. Live, there are just a couple of musicians, no special guests and a lot of pre-recorded backing. It’s basically all Kanye. But in this high-energy juggernaut of a show, that proves to be more than enough.

While a persistent criticism of touring hip-hop acts is the stop-start nature of their performances, Kanye’s foot is rarely off the pedal tonight. After appearing deep in the dancefloor crowd on a crane, he powers through Power and Dark Fantasy to a near hysterical reception. The classic Jesus Walks soon follows, West stalking the stage and spitting out words with such urgency, he seems more a hungry up-and-comer with a point to prove than the stadium-filling multi-millionaire he has long since become.

As choreographed dancers swoon and swirl around him, West covers just about every highlight from his feted back catalogue with older cuts like the slinky minimalism of Love Lockdown, the robotic maximalism of Stronger and the typically defiant Through The Wire all maintaining the irresistible momentum, while Heartless, featuring a crowd singalong, is a clear highlight.

Like some gold-chain clad pied piper, West keeps the crowd energy bubbling as he moves down a catwalk extending from the main stage and later ventures into the upper tiers of the cavernous Entertainment Centre during Touch The Sky, camera phones flashing and fans racing for an up-close glimpse of their charismatic idol. After completing almost a full lap of the venue he disappears through an exit and reappears a few seconds later on stage to launching into another of his monster hits, the ear-worm Gold Digger.

Divided into three acts, apparently to allow for a costume change and add even further to the stadium-sized grandeur, the final section begins with a Chariots of Fire introduction – ridiculous and over-the-top, sure, but nobody comes to a Kanye West show hoping for a low-key production. Dressed in an eye-catching red suit, he stretches his masterpiece Runaway out into something truly epic, with primal screaming and samples mashed together into noise adding to its cathartic power. Lost in the World sees him pondering the state of the universe, before Hey Mama ends proceedings.

Generous in length and packed with hits, what this show lacked in spontaneity it made up for in sheer spectacle. While his all-star collaborators may have been absent, you wouldn’t say they were missed. Some performers get swallowed up by a venue this big, its lack of intimacy working against them. But Kanye West seems to thrive in such a setting and tonight was no exception. His juggernaut rolls on.

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MorningAfterboy

MorningAfterboy said on the 30th Jan, 2012

I want to marry writing like this. Or at least date it.

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 30th Jan, 2012



Imma let you finish. That might be your beautiful dark twisted fantasy but Kanye West's beautiful dark twisted fantasy was the best of all time.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 30th Jan, 2012

Great review!

Just letting you know Heatless was from 808's and Heartbreaks though, not MBDTF

ThatDude123

ThatDude123 said on the 30th Jan, 2012



You wouldn't want to take behind the middle school and get it pregnant?

The Great Monkey War

The Great Monkey War said on the 30th Jan, 2012

Really well written review. Definitely captures the mood of the unfurling hit machine that the first two thirds of the performance were.

I'll just mention that the lengthy additions of Kanye repeatedley pressing buttons of vocal loops and the ad nauseum repetition of motivational phrases at the end of the performances of Runaway and Lost in the World were beyond tacky. They brought the momentum of the set to a grinding halt.

I was laughing during these parts of the set. He was switching back and forth between pressing two buttons on the sampler, that played a vocal sample over and over again. I just kept thinking of the episode of The Office were Gareth comes in with a talking cookie jar "stop! Move away from the cookie jar!". If he thought he was replicating the spirit of house/hip hop dj'ing, he wasn't. And the part where he crouched and stared at the ground, singing "set your goals as high as possible, set your goals as hiiiiigh as possible" with autotune was tortue. The people in the crowd around me all just sort of stood there, shiftily looking around at one another, wondering where the party went. Luckily the energy picked back up again for Hey Mama.

andy_chalmers_102

andy_chalmers_102 said on the 30th Jan, 2012


I'll just mention that the lengthy additions of Kanye repeatedley pressing buttons of vocal loops and the ad nauseum repetition of motivational phrases at the end of the performances of Runaway and Lost in the World were beyond tacky. They brought the momentum of the set to a grinding halt.

I was laughing during these parts of the set. He was switching back and forth between pressing two buttons on the sampler, that played a vocal sample over and over again. I just kept thinking of the episode of The Office were Gareth comes in with a talking cookie jar "stop! Move away from the cookie jar!". If he thought he was replicating the spirit of house/hip hop dj'ing, he wasn't. And the part where he crouched and stared at the ground, singing "set your goals as high as possible, set your goals as hiiiiigh as possible" with autotune was tortue. The people in the crowd around me all just sort of stood there, shiftily looking around at one another, wondering where the party went. Luckily the energy picked back up again for Hey Mama.

I didn't so much enjoy these parts, as I found them really interesting to watch. Kanye is clearly ridiculously ambitious, and while he might not always succeed in engaging the audience, watching him attempt to do so is entertainment in itself, and provides a look into a certain aspect of his clearly fucked up mindset. I think with a Kanye show you have to take his good idiosyncrasies with his not so good ones, and these parts in some ways actually add to the wholeness of the show. Without them the show would just be a nonstop party. It would be a lot of fun, but probably not all that memorable.

Fake Plastic Android

Fake Plastic Android said on the 30th Jan, 2012

Solid write up of the gig. Had so much fun. Thought Kanye was on fire and really enjoying himself too.

Side bar - Did anyone else notice how insanely stacked one of the dancers was? I was right up the front and it was almost taking my attention away from Yeezy. Almost.

Fake Plastic Android

Fake Plastic Android said on the 30th Jan, 2012



Exactly the words I was looking for.

ThatDude123

ThatDude123 said on the 30th Jan, 2012



I have pics. Glorious, glorious pics. In both cases, girl on the far right.

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/s720x720/424710_10150627528300242_720650241_10979246_2041832644_n.jpg

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/425394_10150627527925242_720650241_10979241_1565389171_n.jpg

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 30th Jan, 2012

Great review, really fantastic writing.

I saw Yeezy at the GC BDO and did thoroughly enjoy myself but definitely could not have watched that 3rd act more than once so respect to anybody that saw him multiple times.

sarcasm_mister

sarcasm_mister said on the 30th Jan, 2012

i think i've said enough about Sydney BDO and this Ent Cent show over the last few days. all i've got to add is that the line from Niggas in Paris rings very true when talking about these performance. those extended auto tune rants mean nothing but they're provocative, they get people going! thats what made them kinda awesome in a weird way.

The Great Monkey War

The Great Monkey War said on the 30th Jan, 2012



This makes sense to me. Thank you.

letter8

letter8 said on the 30th Jan, 2012

his microphone failed just before the end of runaway and his backup mic wasn't hooked up to the autotune. so he improvised to going back and forth with the samples until his mic was fixed.

Fake Plastic Android

Fake Plastic Android said on the 30th Jan, 2012

I have pics. Glorious, glorious pics. In both cases, girl on the far right.

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/s720x720/424710_10150627528300242_720650241_10979246_2041832644_n.jpg

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/425394_10150627527925242_720650241_10979241_1565389171_n.jpg

Ha! I would have been standing right next to you judging by where those pics were taken from.

ThatDude123

ThatDude123 said on the 30th Jan, 2012

I was talking quite loudly during the interval and heckled Sneaky Sound System with a Mean Girls line, if that sparks your memory.

Fake Plastic Android

Fake Plastic Android said on the 31st Jan, 2012

Maybe..... Were you near the chick who flashed her tits at Kanye? They were quite nice too now that I think of it.

ThatDude123

ThatDude123 said on the 31st Jan, 2012

about two people in front of her. Was still in my work business attire and with a girl in a polka dot dress.

Man we both fail at internet stalking

Fake Plastic Android

Fake Plastic Android said on the 31st Jan, 2012

about two people in front of her. Was still in my work business attire and with a girl in a polka dot dress.

Man we both fail at internet stalking

There were obviously bigger things that got our attention than other male concert attendees.

ThatDude123

ThatDude123 said on the 31st Jan, 2012

Only thing that distracted me, really, was this fucking rank guy in front of me. We started writing on his shirt when he wasn't looking.

Victim

Victim said on the 31st Jan, 2012



She definitely caught my attention early on (particularly when running around) in the Melbourne BDO set also. I've got some pics/videos too, but I'll have to wait until I get back home tomorrow to upload.

It's like all of a sudden I have an interest in ballet/modern dance....

Fake Plastic Android

Fake Plastic Android said on the 31st Jan, 2012

Yeezy better be gettin a piece of that pie.

Aidan1234567

Aidan1234567 said on the 31st Jan, 2012

my friend went to this show and he loved it
even the shit with him talking crap during lost in the world and runaway
im not joking he enjoyed that

but yeah it sounds slightly different to the big day out show which i saw, just slightly different song placements and medleys
also fuck E.T. i dont know if he played it here but at Big Day Out it just ruined the entire thing when you hear Katy Perry's voice ring out in a show which include a fresco as a background and is split into acts

MorningAfterboy

MorningAfterboy said on the 31st Jan, 2012

E.T. is awesome, shut your whore mouth.

sarcasm_mister

sarcasm_mister said on the 31st Jan, 2012

i think the consensus amongst people who didn't hate Act 3 is that it was fascinating rather than entertaining. it has been a biggest talking point of the show which i'm sure is exactly what Kanye intended.

i just thought about boobs when ET was playing.

ThatDude123

ThatDude123 said on the 31st Jan, 2012


i just thought about that ballerina with the big boobs when ET was playing.

fxt

wazdog

wazdog said on the 31st Jan, 2012



nice. seriously i have no idea why sneaky got booked (possibility because it was a favour for connie) but they seriously suck. no one around me was into them at all and no one cared when they walked off.

i saw exactly the same set at coachella last year and even though he was missing bon iver and pusha t this time i'd have to see that this was almost if not better than performance than that. the sound was perfect from where we were standing.

agree that he of started to lose it towards the end with the extended extended extended version of runaway. yep he did play et as well.

i don't think i've ever seen a crowd in the seated area be up on their feet for a whole gig either.

also heard someone yell out omg is that timomatic on the way out lol.

Stefan Beck

Stefan Beck said on the 31st Jan, 2012



Motherfucker!

I was wondering why the back of my shirt said "The Parrot wuz here".

Stefan Beck

Stefan Beck said on the 31st Jan, 2012



I'mma let you finish but E.T. has the worst Yeezy guest verse of all time.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 31st Jan, 2012

Yeah, I would have prefered his guest verse from American Boy

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 31st Jan, 2012

Oh, whoops, I thought it was the same set as BDO.

...I'll show myself out.

Victim

Victim said on the 31st Jan, 2012

At the Melbourne BDO he did American Boy, and no E.T. There was also no extended part at the end of Runaway that everyone else is talking about. No complaints from me about it, other than a couple of dickheads I was stuck next to in the crowd (summed up by one asking the other "Is this Soundgarden?" 20mins into their set), but you have to expect that in the 2nd row @BDO I guess..

kurtdaniel

kurtdaniel said on the 2nd Apr, 2012

awww,, too bad we miss this show, me and my [url=http://takelessons.com/category/singing-lessons]singing teachers were planning to watch this? any vids to share??





























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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