Kanye West / April 21, 2008 / Los Angeles (Nokia Theater)
Early reviews of Kanye West's current "Glow in the Dark" tour have ranged from glowing to the less flattering headline found in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Kanye was feeling the love -- for himseEarly reviews of Kanye West's current "Glow in the Dark" tour have ranged from glowing to the less flattering headline found in the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer: "Kanye was feeling the love -- for himself."
But there was no denying West's talent, stamina and obsession for giving the audience his all as he strutted, knelt and jumped through song after song during his sold-out, hour-plus set at the Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre on April 21.
The first evening of his two-night Los Angeles stint brought out a mult-racial crowd sporting versions of West's signature lattice-styled shades and neon-bright West tour T-shirts. In fact, the merchandising booth, with shirts ranging from $40 to $65, was still crowded with fans after the show ended at close to midnight.
The show itself incorporated a narrative theme of West as a space traveler whose mission is to find "a new source of inspiration" in the universe. He finds himself marooned on an unknown planet when his spaceship, Jane, crashes. The stage was decorated to resemble a barren moon-like surface like the moon as he performed, "Through the Wire."
Accentuating the theme, a video screen flashing images of the galaxy, a lightning-filled sky, an orange-tinged dawn, swirling clouds and fiery explosions. Between West's urgent delivery of such hits as "Can't Tell Me Nothing," "Diamonds Are Forever," "The Good Life," "All Falls Down" and "Touch the Sky," he frequently exhorted the standing crowd to "let me see your hands." The sea of hands waving throughout the theater made Kanye seem like the ruler of his own universe.
The only time West slowed his roll during the break-free set was when he performed "Hey Mama," the tribute to his late mother. At one point, he prayed to God to get him off the planet and simultaneously poked fun at his well-publicized ego: "I promise to stop talking shit and spassing out at award shows." But then West plugged back in with an energetic rendition of "Stronger."
West's opening acts, did just what a good opening act can: they revved up the crowd. The 30-minute sets of Lupe Fiasco, N.E.R.D. and Rihanna were pleasing, albeit short. But for the audience, it was really all about Kanye West. If the Los Angeles show is any indication, West's tour should be one of the top events of this concert year.