Kanye West, Global Gathering, Warwickshire

Global Gathering, Warwickshire
West is an oddly unengaging performer without the razzmatazz of his light show

People talk the most shit about me," says Kanye West, "not for what I say, but what I dream." Our problem, it seems, is that we don't appreciate the Chicago rapper-producer's big ideas, so fail to recognise his unparalleled greatness. Tonight, though, both his ego and imagination are hamstrung by his lack of ambition.

All summer, West has been touring the US with a show called Glow in the Dark. A high-concept piece of hip-hop theatre - the Los Angeles Times compared it to Götterdämmerung - it features West, framed by a state-of-the-art light and projection show, alone on a specially-built stage, his band sequestered in an orchestra pit. This appearance has been trailed as the British leg of the tour, with much made of the excessive staging requirements.

Yet West has left the lights, set and animations at home - a curious way for the self-proclaimed "world's number one artist" to treat 55,000 fans. Alicia Keys has brought her ambitiously staged As I Am tour to Europe twice already; U2 managed to take Zoo TV to post-war Sarajevo. Not for them the cheapskate option of fobbing off smaller markets with half a show.

So, deprived of the technological trimmings, West just plays his songs. From heavily percussive versions of Gold Digger and Touch the Sky, to a finale of the Daft Punk-sampling Stronger, they all work. But West is an oddly unengaging performer, scarcely able to muster a sense of connection with his audience, and what had promised to be an unmissable spectacle becomes just an average festival gig.


Angus Batey

The GuardianTramp

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