Kanye West slayed his disciples last night in Brisbane on the last leg of ‘The Yeezus Tour’ in Australia.
I have loved Mr West’s music for 10 years.
From ‘College Dropout’ to today’s ‘Yeezus‘ – I own every album and mixtape he’s released. I’ve relished in his changing sound over the years and his political statements regarding race, class and wealth in America. I felt the pain of ‘808s and Heartbreak’ in it’s truest sense when he was at a low point in his life after the loss of his mother and breakdown of a relationship – I too was recovering from a painful breakup. I’ve marveled at his ability to sample some of the most iconic verses and voices in music’s history by layering them over sick, modern sounds taken from a range of musical genres.
I like Kanye‘s music because it resonates with me – whether sad, happy or humorous – as he confessed last night ‘every single line…was written from my gut, my soul. I was too scared to lie’
The ‘Yeezus Tour’ is the third Kanye West tour I’ve seen – and each show has been dramatically different, from the string heavy orchestral sounds of ‘Late Registration’ to the sombre mood inducing and autotune heavy ‘808s and Heartbreak.’
Sydney Show Controversy
The night before the Brisbane show the media had reported that Kanye West had unleashed an insensitive rant towards a disabled fan in the Sydney concert audience – allegedly because they wouldn’t stand up to participate in a song. Angered, Kanye took the opportunity to debunk the media’s report to his Brisbane fans – and set the record straight.
I recorded his dialogue and these are some of things he said regarding the media’s portrayal of him and his role as a family man:
” Tonight’s concert is a protest. To the lies and the bulls— that they put out there in the media about the artist that you love.
“Tonight’s concert is a protest to how they blow s— out of proportion to try and distract y’all from the real s— that is going on.
“…The last day I had in Australia, I went to the zoo today with my child and my wife. Ya know what I’m sayin’? And all the day I got to think about some bulls—, fake stories they put in the press and should I say a statement?
“I’ll be a statement and I’ll be a piece of truth and anyone can see for themselves that I say something. OK. Don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry, cos I feed off of it. I’ve been feeding off it for 10 years. Keeping it real in a fake ass situation. I feed off that s— and give you back true emotion. True artistry. I feed off that s—.”
“All this demonizing me it ain’t gonna work after a while, pick a new target because I’m not one of these dumb ass artists that you’re used to. You come at me, I’ma take my platform and I’ma break this s— down for real intelligent people so they can understand – then we get back to the music.”
He called out Matt Lauer from NBC Today, Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters and suggested they may be reporting on this recent controversy.
The takeaway message from his speech, were for people to critique what they hear in the media instead of blindly consuming it without a second thought. I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment – I pick up a women’s celebrity magazine in the newsagency and one look at the celebrity related headlines it screams bulls— and people unfortunately believe it. Journalistic integrity is not something you’ll find within those publications, it’s sensationalized spin.
I respect Kanye’s artistry and feel his confidence in his musical ability and unwavering need to stand up for his beliefs is greatly misunderstood by many and spun by the media as arrogance. A number of his ‘attacks’ on the paparazzi as he has stated – have been reported without the full context.
Even Kim Kardashian weighed in on the poor reporting on Instagram.
If you want to hear a softer side from Kanye a far cry from the asshole the media makes out he is I recommend you check out the video below – where he talks about Kim, North, the paparazzi and that famous ‘I’m gonna stop you right there’ line on mother-in-law Kris Jenner’s talk show.
The stage was set up with two large LCD screens shaped in a ‘v’ where images would be mirrored across the two – set back behind a pointed runway.
Light was a huge feature in this show, there was a lot of colourful strobing predominantly red so capturing photos and film was particularly difficult – I’m sure that was strategic on Kanye’s part. There were isolated light beams coming down from the roof which pierced the mostly dark stage – Kanye used this to highlight his presence dancing around and through the light.
He worked the space very well – by moving from the end of the runway to either sides of the LCD screens often quite quickly. This was great for the fans vantage point in the audience.
I was seated off to the right hand side and I thought I had a great view – until that is I saw photos and film taken from where wife Kim Kardashian was positioned, dead down the centre where the two screens met. People on the centre floor or seated down the back front on would have really enjoyed the view of both screens together.
This wouldn’t be a truly authentic Kanye West show without featuring some avant garde fashion.
For sections of the show he wore bejeweled, full-face Martin Margiela masks. As ‘Rolling Stone’ attested while on one level they suggest a supreme “look not upon the face of Yeezus, mere mortals” arrogance (which is so off the rails it’s kind of awesome), the masks also have real theatrical usefulness. Given that most of the audience is way too far away to see his face, they provide a vivid, readable visual.
I came to the show highly anticipating hearing the politically layered ‘Blood On The Leaves’ performed live (if you’re not familiar with this song I recommend you check out this article ). I was not disappointed. The build up and climactic dropping of the beat laced with bass, huge horn, auto-tune and Ye’s encouragement to mosh – blew my freaking mind! The hair on my skin stood up as I could feel the bass vibrate in my bones. The audience diligently followed and leapt clean into the air in masses on each beat drop.
The crowd screamed with excitement as Kanye struck the first note on the keys to play ‘Runaway,’ he repeated it as the fans roared louder.
The transition between songs was seamless and like a true artist he vibed off the audience’s reception, knowledge of song lyrics and level of engagement. He seemed genuinely surprised at the audience’s recital of his tracks line by line – pausing frequently to hearing the crowd sing.
The set list in Brisbane was as follows and spanned just over 1.5hrs:
- ‘Black Skinhead’
- ‘I Don’t Like’
- ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’
- ‘New Slaves’
- ‘Run This Town’
- ‘Diamonds From Sierra Leone’
- ‘Jesus Walks’
- ‘All Falls Down’
- ‘Touch The Sky’
- ‘All Of The Lights’
- ‘Good Life’
- ‘Gold Digger’
- ‘Bound 2’
- ‘Blood On The Leaves’
- ‘N*gga’s In Paris’
The ‘Yeezus Tour’ was visually and audibly enthralling and very much deserved the critical acclaim it has received globally.
I’ll leave you with this thought – when Prince first rocketed to fame in the 1980’s people similarly hated his self-confidence labelling him as arrogant and unworthy – in 2014, is Prince’s musical genius and ability ever bought into question?
I have a feeling that this anti-West movement isn’t anything but history repeating itself. I consciously choose to be on the pro-West train and ‘you can’t tell me nothing.’
If you attended ‘The Yeezus Tour’ let me know what you thought of the concert in the comments below!