• 26
  • 910
Image for Kanye West @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne (31/01/2012)

Kanye West @ Sidney Myer MusicBowl, Melbourne (31/01/2012)

On the back of some polarising appearances at his East Coast-only Big Day Out run (which was in itself polarising), Kanye West brought his personal circus to Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl for the last Australian show of his tour.

Charged with the thankless task of warming up a distracted crowd was Sneaky Sound System. While DJ Black Angus might’ve been playing minesweeper for all I know, singer Connie Mitchell put in a big effort, flirting, dancing and wailing, all in a garish red cat-suit and vertiginous platform heels. She was terrific, but it was broad daylight, and this was not the sort of crowd to bother with trifles such as an opening act.

As showtime approached, expectations were high, assisted by West’s, ahem, relaxed time-keeping. At long last, West’s musicians (two multi-instrumentalists and a DJ) filed out in front of the absurd, excellent Romanesque backdrop that overlooked the stage, followed by a troupe of dancers in pseudo-balletic garb. All of the above ensured that the crowd completely, utterly lost their shit when the man finally emerged, not on stage, but in the basket of a cherry-picker in the middle of the audience, amidst smoke-machine blasts. As the ironic opening line of Dark Fantasy (“can we get much higher?”) rang out, one thing was clear; Kanye West has a sense of occasion.

After being escorted to the stage, West launched into Power and Jesus Walks, a contradictory but impressive double header. The lights, the smoke and Kanye’s blinding bling were pretty compelling, but the dance troupe was a spectacle all themselves; writhing, contorting, and generally chewing the scenery, their interpretive jazz ballet was pretty silly, but no less entertaining for it. Like Kanye himself, the deficiencies were part of the fun.

What really sets Kanye West apart is charisma. He’s arrogant, self-aware, pretentious, funny as hell, able to play the diva like no-one else right now bar Lady Gaga. Kanye’s is a knack for allowing his life to bleed into his songs, and his songs bleed into your life. And, of course, he has the hits.

And so it was a question of what not to play at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Well, aside from material from Watch The Throne, Slow Jamz and maybe Heard ‘Em Say, all the biggies got an airing; with the likes of The College Dropout’s All Falls Down and Estelle’s American Boy still sounding so fresh that one could only marvel at the way West has ridden the curve of pop music over the last decade.

After the excellent, bilious Hell Of A Life, Kanye called for a light check, chastising the crew for not getting the strobe right. Control freak? Maybe, but either way, the audience needed to catch their breath, and it was pretty good theatre.

Where the man was difficult though, the music was effortless; ear candy burst from the speakers, song after song; Can’t Tell Me Nothin’, Flashing Lights, Good Life, and the energy refused to dip. After an interval the momentum slowed, as it had to, with a suite of 808s and Heartbreaks songs. In fact, the whole show from this point on was noticeably more loose. Occasionally great (there was a memorable ad lib on waiting all night for an ex with the door ajar, “and this is New York City, man! This is some pussy to risk getting killed for!”), there were also unfortunate lapses into life-coaching, aimless synth noodling, and less amusing strains of self-indulgence.

However, with no tension, there’s no release, and the start of Touch The Sky was just that; utter release. Dancing, singing, it was catharsis en masse. Those with more highbrow tastes might sniff, but only the best pop music can do this.

On the fourth attempt (Kanye wasn’t happy with the audience participation on ‘Our n**** dead!’), All Of The Lights lifted the roof. A collaboration-happy sort of guy, the lack of a singer to cover for likes of Rihanna, Dwele, Bon Iver and myriad others was not such an issue, as the audience drowned out the recorded vocals on most of the choruses anyway. However, a small gripe was the lack of bite in the drum sounds. Though guitars, bass and synth were all augmented live, the beats, a fundamental component of the show – arguably the fundamental component – occasionally got lost amid the various competing sound sources.

Runaway saw West clad in red leather atop a podium surrounded by ballerinas – side note: Kanye the entertainer and Kanye the artist spent the whole night vying for supremacy; on Runaway, the artist won, and the audience lost – in what was clearly meant to function as the night’s climax. Unfortunately, more of a good thing isn’t always a good thing, as the song devolved in to an interminable jam. It was sort of like a vocoder solo, and it was sort of like a guy just talking about whatever. Luckily, Kanye is a pretty interesting guy. Still it was hard not to feel a twinge of pity for the solitary dancer that had to throw shapes for a solid twenty minutes while West banged on about having sex with his ex.

Then came Lost In The World before West closed with the heartfelt, but slightly underwhelming Hey Mama. No encore, just a curtain call, then it was back to reality.

Comments

www.fasterlouder.com.au arrow left
43455
atlien90

atlien90 said on the 31st Jan, 2012

forgive me if i'm missing the correct thread/place, i'm new here and only saw the one for sydney.

i genuinely feel sorry for anyone who has not seen kanye's current live show. we are witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime artist at the top of his game right now. i was fucking blown away by that gig, despite hearing pretty much everything about the show after his set at bdo on sunday.

people can hang shit on him for being a massive douchebag - which he is - all they want (though spare me the people who think the "gay fish" insult is hilarious or clever. maybe come up with an actual criticism and not a three-year-old south park gag) but if he keeps making sick music and putting on shows like that... fuck.

so far ahead of everyone else in the hip-hop genre (and pretty much any other for that matter) that it's just ridiculous.

even watching the extending talking/wails/autotune noises was fascinating to watch.

he's obviously got something nqr going on with his brain, but i for one cannot wait to see what happens next. and he's only 34. scary shit.

at the end of the day goddamn it i'm killing this shit
i know damn well y'all feeling this shit

Fake Plastic Android

Fake Plastic Android said on the 1st Feb, 2012

Cool story bro.

But seriously how good are the jugs on that dancer?

atlien90

atlien90 said on the 1st Feb, 2012

i was too far away to tell unfortunately.

Jestarrr

Jestarrr said on the 1st Feb, 2012

I really wish he'd tell backstory on different songs though. I don't mind hearing it, but it's the same thing for 'Say you Will and 'Runaway' that you heard two night's earlier, it can get really dull.

The man can sure put on a show. And what a rack that girl has.

atlien90

atlien90 said on the 1st Feb, 2012

my mate who also went to bdo said the story during say you will was different slightly. i was in hysterics. "you know the type of messages you send at 3am"

Jestarrr

Jestarrr said on the 1st Feb, 2012

Yeah. I thought it was funny because he did mix it up a bit. Personally, I think he should put runaway ahead of love lockdown and that stuff. Let the concert go from crazy, to him doing his introspective shit in the middle, and then end on a boom with that chain of hits from Run This Town to Gold Digger to Lost in the World. Maybe not quite like that, but don't let the concert fall as sharply as it does.

ThatDude123

ThatDude123 said on the 1st Feb, 2012

I just noticed but Jetstarrr: Lana Del Rey, really? Really?

Jestarrr

Jestarrr said on the 1st Feb, 2012



30 bucks, I'll check out the hype. Plus, the other 4 I bought will more than make up for it.

ThatDude123

ThatDude123 said on the 1st Feb, 2012

Wait so you are one of those guys selling tickets on eBay for an immense price? Not sure if proud or ashamed

atlien90

atlien90 said on the 1st Feb, 2012

now that i've been to sidney myer music bowl i am so fucking annoyed i didn't get seats for bon iver (and kanye). the ga section is so far away

Jestarrr

Jestarrr said on the 1st Feb, 2012



I will be.

1. She had two songs released when the tickets went on sale. So the whole idea that I'm taking tickets away from 'true fans is just a laugh.
2. Anyone who is stupid enough pay $200 to see an average, hyped up act (who only just released her first album) doesn't deserve their money.

atlien90

atlien90 said on the 1st Feb, 2012

i won't criticise you because pow pow is also in your sig.

Jestarrr

Jestarrr said on the 1st Feb, 2012



Well yeah. This isn't LCD Soundsystem's last concert. These aren't diehard, lifelong fan's I'm taking money from. They just heard her on triple j and want tickets. I did the same for OFWG last year.

No shame at all.

atlien90

atlien90 said on the 1st Feb, 2012

also i forgot to mention that he called pitbull out for being a shit cunt last night, which was very nearly the highlight for me. yeezy's got more talent in one hair on his left testicle than pitbull does in his entire body.

Nosyt

Nosyt said on the 1st Feb, 2012

You seem to be riding that testicle quite hard

Victim

Victim said on the 1st Feb, 2012

FYI - The photo gallery is titled "Kayne" not "Kanye"

sarcasm_mister

sarcasm_mister said on the 1st Feb, 2012

this thread is in desperate need of some....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfM_wS7qYfY

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 1st Feb, 2012

Thread now right

http://ris.fashion.telegraph.co.uk/RichImageService.svc/imagecontent/1/TMG8445151/m/DAISY-LOWE-1_1870330a.jpg

Spicy McHaggis

Spicy McHaggis said on the 2nd Feb, 2012

I will be.

1. She had two songs released when the tickets went on sale. So the whole idea that I'm taking tickets away from 'true fans is just a laugh.
2. Anyone who is stupid enough pay $200 to see an average, hyped up act (who only just released her first album) doesn't deserve their money.

While I agree anyone willing to pay it is a moron, I still think you're a jerk for doing it.

therat

therat said on the 2nd Feb, 2012

Agreed. It can only have a negative knock on effect.

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 2nd Feb, 2012

Well yeah. This isn't LCD Soundsystem's last concert. These aren't diehard, lifelong fan's I'm taking money from. They just heard her on triple j and want tickets. I did the same for OFWG last year.

No shame at all.

Who are you to decide what sort of fan somebody is? And how can you be a 'diehard lifelong fan' when these are relatively brand new acts?

Scalpers are cunts.

Captain Morgan

Captain Morgan said on the 2nd Feb, 2012

wow, this article has suddenly been 'edited', how odd. now where did my post go?

sarcasm_mister

sarcasm_mister said on the 2nd Feb, 2012

the review was just fine until that last sentence with your comment about there being no encore. makes you sound a little uninformed and unaware that this wasn't your regular main set + 'encore' gig.

wazdog

wazdog said on the 2nd Feb, 2012

this thread is in desperate need of some....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffm_ws7qyfy

my sis saw yeezy and jigga in seatle and they did an encore of this four times at the end of the gig.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 2nd Feb, 2012



She got ripped off

7 or gtfo