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10 Nov 05

that’s right, i went to see kanye west

just to mix things up a bit, we went to a decidedly non-indie show – nay, concert! – last night at the acc. kanye west’s touch the sky tour was in town, so we joined the masses and settled into our 300-level seats. on the bright side, the seats were in the first row of the 300s, which meant we didn’t have to deal with people standing in front of us. on the down side, our view of the stage was partially obscured by some enormous speakers suspended from the ceiling, and our vantage point wasn’t viewing the stage head on so we didn’t really have a super fantastic view. alas.

we arrived just in time to catch the end of keisha cole’s set (and heard her masterfully create a sentence containing the word y’all twice). i didn’t hear enough to make an informed judgement, but my uninformed judgement, based mostly on her: a) bragging about an almost-platinum record and b) desparate requests for the audience to purchase said record, is that i’m glad i missed most of it.

fantasia was next on the bill, which made me glad to have never sat through an american idol episode. ya-awn. yes, she can sing real purdy, but no, she’s not my thing. all i can really remember about her set was that she was wearing crazy high heels, that she sang purple rain, that she said “baby” a lot, and that she sang a song based on a conversation she had with her hairdresser earlier in the day. moving on…

kanye’s performance was definitely a spectacle. in spite of the fact that i’ve seen a couple hundred shows in my life, i can count the number of true “concerts” i’ve attended on one hand. yes, kanye’s ticket prices were exorbinant, but he did put on a show for our money. he had a pretty elaborate stage set up (from what i could see, anyway), with a crazy amount of amps, soundboards, lights, projectors, a disco ball, and even a bunch of glittery confetti at one point. he also tours with a large band (including strings), although, for whatever reason, most of the musicians were hidden behind white partitions that resembled office cubicles. they did look pretty cool when they were back lit and silhouettey, but in general, i don’t know why you’d tour with a band only to hide them.

the crowd was just about as interesting to watch from our perch as kanye. i’ve never before seen a crowd so obedient before: requests of “get your hands up”, “let’s see your diamonds”, “let’s see those cell phones”, etc. were all immediately obeyed. the crowd were also providing lyrics more often than not, without kanye having to resort to the microphone in the air routine. i do have to ask though: why did so many people have their cell phones on throughout the show? looking through the crowd, we could see dozens of amber lights. i’m sure some were digital cameras, but the rest? were people texting each other incessantly? were some people recording the show on their pda? it was a new phenomenon for me.

anyway, in truth, i’m actually quite happy about where our seats were situated. we weren’t in the middle of the crazy dancing masses, and we weren’t surrounded by girls/women who were dressed like they were going to a club. we did have two very high white guys directly to my left who had a serious case of black envy (and whose safety i feared for a few times as they got progressively closer to the edge), but otherwise, no complaints.

i won’t comment on the performance itself, other than to say it was solid (although who am i to critic hip hop?) i’m pretty mystified, as anne and i have talked about a few times, about why hip hop albums and live shows need to rely on skits and acting, but i guess that’s just something i’m not meant to understand. oh, and what was the deal with the lack of encore? i found it interesting that he ended the show by introducing his band and backup singers, and then leaving the stage. kind of anti-climactic.

anyway, in summary, i attended a hip hop show. that’s noteworthy in itself.

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Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps blend of chunk and lump
Date: 1883

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