Monday, August 20, 2007

Kanye West Concert

I saw Kanye West perform, in London, at a special, invitation only, concert, tonight. If you are a fan of Kanye, I'm sure you would have loved it. I'm not a fan. I am very mild about Kanye. This concert did nothing to win me over to him. If anything, it had the opposite effect.
First, was the wait. It took waiting in queue for an hour beyond when the production team said they would be letting us in, before the audience was finally admitted to the building. Once inside, we had to wait almost two hours more. The wait was longer than the show ended up being. When he did finally take the stage, he was backed up by an all-female orchestra. While that was a nice touch, some idiot decided to dress the orchestra in these hideous dresses, in neon colors. To make matters worse, as if the neon dresses weren't enough, it was decided to put silver face make-up on the girls in the orchestra, so that they all look like they are wearing masks. They ended up looking like clowns. The girls also wore matching, awful hairstyles.
Putting aside the visuals, let's talk about the music. After all, the music is the main reason for attending a concert, right? The lyrics were virtually unintelligible. Kanye seemed to be ovemodulating. I'm not sure whether it was his overmodulating, or the fact that the three women to my left were screaming in my ear, but I couldn't make out the lyrics. What's the point of rap if you can't hear the lyrics? Then, he doesn't even play the one song of his which I like. He paused a couple of times, during the show, to re-shoot this or that. He redid the opening number. It sounded no better the second time. During one such pause, he chastized audience members sitting in the balconies, for not making these ridiculous "diamond" shapes with their hands. He complained that it wouldn't look good on TV, if some sections of the audience weren't doing it. Kanye criticized all the audience for this, except the section where I was standing. He cited us as the ideal. That's because so many of the goofballs around me enthusiastically waved these diamond shapes, even before Kanye had asked for them. They must be fans. Especially one of the women to my left, who screamed out, "marry me!" I don't think we are in any danger of nuptials between them, as she was more endowed with enthusiasm, than beauty. Another thing about the fans which felt annoying, was that so many of them held up mobile camera-phones, to record Kanye performing. They kept waving their cameras back and forth, tracking his movements on stage. What's the point in coming to a live show, then spending the whole show watching the images on your tiny, mobile phone's video display? When I was young, people held lit cigarette lighters aloft, during concerts. Now, these seem to have been replaced by the mobile phone. This sea of waving phones just made it harder to see. I ended up liking the music played while the equipment was being set up, better than the music in the show.
Maybe it's rappers. Maybe rap music is such that it's better to hear it on studio recordings, than to listen to it "live." And yet, I remember playing with an MC, when I was a DJ, and him being great at it. Then, we didn't overmodulate. In any case, when it comes to Kanye, the bulk of his songs ended up sounding like a hash of noise. Also, this was the first concert I can remember where there was no encore. Fans of Kanye will probably accuse me of being too harsh, but I think that was the worst concert I can remember ever witnessing. You can make up your own minds, as Channel 4 will be airing the recording of the show, on 2 September, at 2PM. Looking on the bright side, you might spot me.

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