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To paraphrase the famous US sports quote used to describe Kanye West's hometown Chicago Bears - this Illinois native "is who we thought he was".
Arrogant, aloof, stylish and electric, the producer-come-rapper-come-pop-music megastar made good on his billing as the headline act of this year's Splendour in the Grass.
His Friday night amphitheatre spectacle might have been out of step with the lower scale sights of his festival brethren, at times receiving a faint audience reaction, but it was all the more compelling for it.

To open the main stage spectacle West utilised some old-school illusionist trickery.
As a group of scantily clad dancers took the stage with operatic hollering blasting out of the speakers they fell to their knees staring at the stage's stone angel backdrop.
With the crowd's attention pulled, Kanye emerged from a rising platform in the middle of the audience before launching into My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy opener Dark Fantasy.

A jubilant reaction from the front and side of stage crowd followed before West further mined his most recent work for the clenched-fist Power, briefly dipping his toes into his earlier work Graduation's Can't Tell Me Nothing and the Shirley Bassey sampling Diamonds of Sierra Leone.
Barely speaking throughout the night, West broke his slience by proclaiming he was "lost for words" at the crowd's reaction.
"It's fun to down all those classics, but I love doing the new shit," he said before wheeling out the foreboding menace of Monster, working the crowd into an uncontrollable lather, the track maintaining its throbbing blunt-force threat even without the thrilling cameo of Nicki Minaj.
Graduation's Flashing Lights and Good Life followed before West made the obligatory change of pace by pulling out the vocal enhancement to tackle the melodic material of 808s and Heartbreak.

From this point, West seemed to lose the crowd, the audience reaction softening as the gig progressed.
More than once West stood in relative silence post-song as scattered cheers petered out amongst the crowd.
It was hardly a reflection of West's efforts though, Swedish rockers The Hives, known for inspiring the most frenzied crowds, spent their entire 60 minute set attempting to kickstart the hearts of a tepid and non-plussed gathering.
No manner of audience interaction could wake this mob up.
Even still, the yearning Love Lockdown failed to conjure up the kind of percussive power which slays on record but the change in gears helped deliver one of the gig highlights.
Heartless straddled the introspective sounds of 808s and word-spitting propulsion of West's hip hop anthems to stunning effect, the 34-year-old working the stage in his bright white suit and acid washed jeans.
Brief forays into College Dropout's triumph-over-adversity Through the Wire and All Fall Down made way for the spine chilling brilliance of Jesus Walks, West testifying like a mad preacher one minute and breaking down like a wounded soul the next.
The scantily clad backing dancers returned as ballet dancers for Runaway, Kanye's toast to the douchebags getting a suitable reaction from many attendees.
It ended with a shower of fireworks falling from the back of the stage, a small foray into the sort of stage production most commonly associated with global megastars.
Apart from a few smoke machines, the odd laser and the occasional spray of fireworks above the stage the trappings as subtle as a pop stage production could be.
Kanye let his music do the talking and his final words, Hey Mama, were a dedication to his mother, Donda West, who died following surgery in 2007.
It was a sobering end to a thrilling spectacle.
Questions remain as to whether he won the crowd over and whether such a mainstream act fits this historically left of centre festival but there is no doubt Kanye gave his all.

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/entertainment/who-needs-dialogue-when-kanyes-in-town-20110730-1i50c.html#ixzz1TbwA8vxR



 
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