Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kanye West @The Nokia Theatre, Aug. 29th

I got a pair of free tickets from Amex's giveaway and briefly considered dumping the tickets since I didn't want to miss kung fu, it being a Tuesday, but lordy, am I glad I went! I took Fer along to the state of the art Nokia Theatre in Times Square, and despite our lateness in joining the line, we managed to get good positioning on the floor.

After making the crowd endure a long ass set by DJ AM (yes, the former flame of Nicole Ritchie), which wouldn't have been so bad if we weren't impatiently waiting for the main attraction, Kanye finally hit the stage just before 10:30pm, starting off with "Diamonds from Sierra Leone." He had both a male and a female backup singer, a full string section including harp, and DJ 8-track, who provided percussion samples and music samples.

The Britta had said to me that he thought hip hop could be crap live, so my expectations for this were set low, but Kanye proved that he was deserving of the hype. For the next 90 minutes, Kanye worked us hard. He came at us with hit after hit from both of his albums. His set was interrupted by a two song set by John Legend, who sang his hit "Ordinary People," a gorgeous song, and then remained on stage to sing backup on "Heard 'Em Say." Kanye was also joined by Common for a few cuts.

In singing "Gold Digger" Kanye joked how it was the only time white people felt comfortable saying "n*gga."

He then did a brief history of various songs he helped produce/write in the years before he made it big as an artist in his own right, including hits by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.

Following that interlude, Kanye brought out Pharrell. To the audience's delight, they covered "Drop It Like It's Hot" (or was it "Beautiful"?) and "Frontin'."

To close out the show, Kanye went back to his first album for "Jesus Walks" (always stirring), "Never Let Me Down," and his first single "Through the Wire."

Throughout the show, Kanye proved himself to be charming, funny (we learned that he knows "Anchorman" verbatim), hard working, in touch with the audience -- for real. I came away astonished -- he blew me away.

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