Oh, and a Gig Gripe

I forgot, when I wrote my Kanye West review, that I have a Gig Gripe.

Seriously, why would you pay £35 (plus ridiculous booking charges and EIGHT POUNDS to park) and then spend the entire show holding up your mobile phone to film the performance??!

Firstly, how can that be fun? Holding your arms up in the air for an hour and a half and not being able to move, let alone dance? Secondly, it’s a fucking mobile phone – the quality of the video will be dreadful. I refer to Exhibit A – most YouTube videos. Don’t get me started about the audio quality either.

Just stop it and enjoy the show.

That is all.

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Kanye West, Birmingham NEC

So, I took a break from dissertating last night, and took the Husband To Be to see Kanye West at the NEC. Awesome.

The support acts were fine, I suppose, but completely inappropriate – I was pleasantly surprised by Mr. Hudson & the Library (and particularly ‘Too Late, Too Late’) but it kind of felt a bit inconsequential in such a large arena. Santogold was a real disappointment, though. Admittedly, she’s like a half-hearted version of M.I.A. at the best of times but I really like ‘You’ll Find A Way’ so I’d hoped she’d carry it off. But after she murdered that song before even playing anything else, there wasn’t a lot of hope for her really. She got booed. Oops. That said, her dancers were so cool.

Kanye was awesome though. I like arrogance in a man as it is but he just takes it to new heights. And whilst I probably could have done without the bonkers spaceship crash storyline and, specifically, the acting (“But how did we get here? How will we ever get home?”), I think it’s the fact that he so often verges on kitsch but does so without losing any credibility that I like so much about him. Seriously, some parts of the show were just completely bizarre – the monster that ate him and spat him out, the backing singer randomly singing Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ halfway through, the weird alien lady in a bubble telling him he’s the greatest star in the world, I could go on. And yet Kanye declared it, not only the Greatest Hip Hop Show Ever but indeed the Greatest Show Ever. Who am I to argue?

That aside, he played enough of his early stuff to keep me very, very happy, including ‘All Falls Down’ – my favourite Kanye record – and ‘Jesus Walks’ – my new favourite Kanye record after last night. And I even liked the new single, ‘Love Lockdown’, live even though he ‘messed up’ and had to restart it three times (he’s done it at every gig on the tour, apparently). ‘Stronger’ was mental, ‘Golddigger’ was fun, ‘Hey Mama’ was genuinely touching and ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ and ‘Flashing Lights’ were just very, very cool.

All in all, it was right up there with some of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. I’m going to do a “Best Gig Moments” blog one of these days…