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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Ego Has Landed - Kanye West, Live in Portland, June 3rd, 2008

Posted by Ezra Ace Caraeff on Wed, Jun 4, 2008 at 9:08 AM

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Kanye West is in trouble. Marooned on a strange planet that resembles the set of this movie, a futuristic miniature golf course, and the cover of Dianetics, Mr. West is alone in space (like The Little Prince with a Rocafella Chain) and spends his time spitting rhymes and conversing with his sensual computer pal, Jane.

No, seriously, I did not just make that up.

This ambitious, if not fucking bizarre, setup is at the heart of West's "Glow in the Dark Tour" which rolled through town with openers Rihanna, N.E.R.D., and Lupe Fiasco last night at the Rose Garden. Surprisingly not sold out, the event was all about Kanye and he wasn't about to let you forget it. The openers had a stage to perform upon, Kanye had his very own planet.

West's sci-fi cosmic odyssey is grand in scale, but the spotlight never strays far from the man of the hour—his 7-piece live band (it could have been more, they went out of their way not to be seen) was absolutely stellar, operating in the shadows in front of the stage, like a percussion-heavy hiphop orchestra—who roams the planet/stage while running through his seemingly endless array of hit songs. The entire performance was like a swirling black hole of pure narcissism, but what else would you expect from a man who takes the time to pen a mid-show script about him being “the biggest star in the universe?”

"Through the Wire" seemed naked without the Chaka Khan sample, while "Get Em High" didn't benefit from the demonic vocal effects, but with the exception of those two songs—and an unfortunate incident where Kanye laid on the stage while his band went into Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," thus violating the longtime no-Steve-Perry-in-hiphop rule—the setlist was fluid, if not perfect. The stark "Flashing Lights" was glorious in the live setting, as was the extended version of "Good Life," although it failed to reach the 10 minute mark as he claimed it did in his late-show rant against critics (my ears are burning!) and haters alike.

Oh, and "Gold Digger" featured a pair of hologram lesbians. Yup.

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