Those of you who listened to my Kanye's Crates mix and read my little write-up about the mix, probably already figured that I am a Kanye fan. Generally, I am a fan of Kanye because he is the artistic offspring of artists like Common, NoID, Tribe, De la, Jay-Z and many other acts that have fueled and maintained my love for Hip Hop over the years. Clearly, Kanye has been able to push Hip Hop music forward into mainstream pop culture like few before him. In doing so, he has been able to blaze the trail for future Hip Hop artists to come (I emphasize the word artist).
The Glow in the Dark tour is the culmination of some next level Hip Hop sh*t. Kanye's performance was more like a Hip Hop play than a big arena rap concert. Until Lupe Fiasco joined Kanye on stage for the final song of the set (Touch the Sky), West was completely alone on stage for the entire show. The show consisted of Kanye playing the character of a spaceship pilot who has crashed into a planet with no artistic creativity. Throughout the performance, Kanye stayed in character, all alone on stage, rapping (sometimes singing) song after song with each song transitioning to the next as seamless as a J.Rocc mixtape.
All in all, the concert was a wonderful experience. With all that said, I have a few gripes (with little of them having anything to do with the actual performance). First, Hip Hop was not in the building. This comes as little surprise when one considers that Kanye West has now become more pop star than Hip Hop star. With all that understood, it was still disturbing to see an audience (that was seemingly willing to sing along to anything) go silent when songs like "Who Shot Ya," "Who Got the Props," and "Mass Appeal," were played during the intermission. Second, the audience clearly did not get the memo that just because you're a fan of Kanye West does not mean that you have dress exactly like him. To say the least, it was highly annoying to see an arena of 20,000 people dressed in florescent polos and sweater vests. Don't get me wrong, I like to wear a polo as much as the next guy (you can check my closet on this one), but you don't need to bite your entire style from the dude.
Third, the whole glow in the dark theme is gayer than a Queer As Folk episode on Santa Monica Boulevard. Fourth (this one actually has to do with the performance), I'm not sure if I'm cool with the DJ and backup musicians being placed off stage. This gripe has me a little conflicted because I did enjoy how Kanye was alone on stage rapping song after song. That being said, putting the DJ and musicians off stage seemed to completely strip the show of all its hip hop essence. Again, I'm not even sure if this is a legitimate critique or not, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a problem with the deejay (DJ Craze, no less) placed off stage.
All critique aside, I thoroughly enjoyed Kanye's Glow in the Dark performance. My main gripe is that I enjoyed the show the same way I enjoyed the play Les Miserables, and not the way I enjoyed seeing KRS-1 for the first time. Whether that is legitimate or not, is for the Hip Hop community to decide.