Kanye West: Gig Review at London Hammersmith Apollo, Saturday 23 March

Everyone has a preconceived idea of Kanye West – even Barack Obama, but Yeezy told us on Saturday’s London Hammersmith Apollo gig that he “didn’t give a f***” about what the president had to say.

Kanye West live at London Hammersmith Apollo, Saturday night
Kanye West live at London Hammersmith Apollo

Kanye seemed to randomly announce his two London shows but it quickly became obvious he had stuff to get off his chest.

After the fantastic spectacle of Kanye’s Glow Tour and the mammoth that was the Watch The Throne tour with Jay-Z, I had high expectations.

An extra hour of queuing outside in the freezing cold didn’t dampen the crowd’s mood. Kanye finally entered the stage to “Cold as Ice” by climbing the stage, emerging between visuals of parting glaciers in the sea. To say the crowd went nuts is an understatement. There was jumping, there was dancing, and the crowd drowned out Kanye by singing along.

The show was visually stunning, the backdrops of cold climates of arctic wasteland, snowstorms and migrating birds fitted Kanye’s ice cold mood perfectly.

The stage, fully draped in white on the floor and behind for visual effects, had an extension which tilted to give Kanye more room to pace around and climb behind to change costumes – or rather face masks.

Kanye and his whole band were dressed fully in white, at one point Kanye wore a straitjacket, and for a lot of songs he performed wearing a feather mask or a diamond encrusted gimp mask, notably.

He performed a good mixture of his groundbreaking hip-hop from the past decade and for the whole of “Say You Will”, the crowd were showered in an artificial snowstorm, which delighted at first, but seemed never-ending.

Kanye performed specifically at times for the seas of hands which held out mobile phones to record him. He spat fire delivering tracks like “Heartless” and “Runaway”, and in return, he poured his angry heart out for us to understand him.

During a 15 minute interlude, Kanye invited the Grammys’ to suck his d*** seven times, explained he had love Jay – Z but wasn’t feeling “Suit n Tie” (Jay’s appearance on Justin Timberlake’s comeback song), told us he is unfairly treated for interrupting Taylor Swift and that corporations, specifically “soft drinks” are ruining the music industry.

The crowd went with it, some tweeted their boredom and bewilderment, it seems they just wanted to dance and enjoy the music without hearing what was on Kanye’s mind.

“Lost in the World” was the closing track, Kanye disappeared behind the tilted stage without a goodbye. Some people started to leave from upstairs, but the rest of the hyped up crowd downstairs who’d sung and jumped to every lyric called for an encore. Kanye returned for two verses and a chorus of “Gold Digger”, then with a “Goodbye London” it really was over.

With nothing to promote, only to entertain and really express himself, Kanye definitely did that.


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