EVENT REVIEW: Kanye West - Live In London, Hammersmith Apollo


Between his accounts of beefs with The Grammy Awards and Gaga to his honest opinions on Jay-Z's new music You'd be hard pressed to find another performer who's as honest as Kanye West. At the Hammersmith Apollo on Saturday the 23rd of February we saw Kanye deliver such honesty through both his music and his hilarious 5 minute long rants.

In somewhat of a shocker Yeezy didn't keep us waiting too long and around half an hour late the star, clad in all white took to the stage flanked by four huge projection screens. The screens displayed Hype William-esque visuals of natural scenes, often mirrored on themselves which really did make for a welcome change from the showy LED based productions I've been used to recently. Show opener "Cold' was no exception, against the electric arctic backdrop Kanye sauntered down the Leather inclined stage immediately demanding our attention in his usual welcoming fashion.

But the formalities were soon over when he launched into a run of fan favourites including "Can't Tell Me Nothing", "Power" and "Jesus Walks" complete with flawless choreography courtesy of someones drunk uncle. As he left the stage to take a breather we were all caught off guard when London's recent weather somehow found its way indoors. There was a collective gasp as we realised that the man had made it snow! Clearly "making it rain" is far too 2012 for Mr West and he fought his was through the temporary blizzard in his straight jacket and white Maison Martin Margiela mask to guide us through a few cuts from 2008's genius 808's and Heartbreak.

Kanye looked most excited when performing some of his featured cuts like "Clique" and 2 Chain's urban anthem "Birthday song"- and the crowd all roared in agreement each time one of the bangers dropped. He seemed to appreciate the love, divulging that he came to London 'for the creativity- creativity fuels everything' he said which obviously evoked bad memories of what he sees as a snub at the recent Grammy Awards (him and Jay won 2 for their Watch The Throne Album- hardly a snub right?). But he did rightly point out that he has never won a Grammy when up against a white artist… hmm food for thought?! But Kanye's sharing didn't stop there, in one of his now infamous freestyles he rapped "I Love Hov, But I ain't Fuckin' with that Suit and Tie" a reference to Jigga's so, so received Justin Timberlake collabo.

The rest of the show was punctuated with more hits as the crowd hung on his every word, only ever losing focus when Kanye would go off on one of his slightly self indulgent 7 minute outros. But true fans (ME!) found it hard to waiver, transfixed on the enigmatic star or his equally engaging visuals. After an hour and a half (including encore "Gold Digger") of sheer brilliance it's easy to see why Kanye gets frustrated when his greatness isn't recognised. This isn't as simple as him grabbing a can of white paint from Homebase and projecting some archive footage on to a wall. He puts real thought into his show. It genuinely comes across that he wants to make art to share with his fans, often opening up their minds to possibilities as absurd as crystal decorated masks from Belgian fashion houses.

Yet through all the pomp and childish tantrums we still love him, because if there's anything us Brit's can appreciate, it's a trier. And not only does he try, but he succeeds- with flying colours.

Photographer:  Troy Oraine

[nggallery id=21]