Kanye West’s ‘808s & Heartbreak’ Afterparty Was Ruined by Cops Before He Even …

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Kanye West Faces Slight Tech Glitch at ‘808s & Heartbreak’ Show: Reports.

The ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ star posted a picture of the pair kissing on Instagram, captioning it “Northy and KoKo LoCo at daddy’s show,” E!Online reports.The kickoff of Kanye West’s rare two-night set of 808s & Heartbreak shows at California’s Hollywood Bowl may not have gone quite as smoothly as planned.

It took, perhaps, 45 seconds for the fireworks to begin at Kanye West’s delirious, beautiful, insane, over-the-top, maddening and, ultimately, empty performance of 2008’s “808s and Heartbreak” at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night. Khloe and the two-year-old were accompanied by Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Kendall Jenner at the 38-year-old rapper’s gig in Los Angeles.

The system — the music business, the fashion industry, American society, you name it — was letting him down, and he wasn’t content to let that go without comment. As he reached the chorus of the show’s (and album’s) opening number, “Say You Will,” Roman candles and sparklers erupted from the top of the Bowl. While on the stage, the troupe of dancers stood, all in pure white Arab dish dash and hijabs (with one figure that looked like a female “Star Wars” droid or the resurrection of the malfunctioning sex doll from his Glow In The Dark tour). Arrayed in architectural groupings, facing in different directions, it looks like a cross between an ’80s Calvin Klein perfume ad and Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.

According to TMZ, Kanye — who addressed the situation by saying “This is the best dress rehearsal I’ve ever had” — was allegedly late for the actual rehearsal the night before. That meant playing each number back to back, minus the impromptu monologues, gaggle of Kardashians and future presidential bid currently encompassed in West’s orbit. It’s gorgeous ballyhoo: part fashion show, part modern opera (an expensively printed booklet containing the album’s lyrics, placed on every seat, is expressly marked “libretto”), part art-house movie; it’s Kanye West’s Xanadu, an edifice built to one man’s specifications, and probably only understood by that man. Much like the rapper himself, the show was a mix of attention-grabbing bombast and biting realism, filled with austere beauty and high-school melodrama.

A few weeks before that, at the MTV Video Music Awards, he was presented with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and gave a 10-minute speech about inspiration. And it took nothing less than an orchestra, a vocal ensemble and 70-plus dancer/performers to bring West’s most stripped-down album to life. “808s” was spawned from perhaps the rapper’s worst year ever — he’d split with his fiancee, lost his mother and was grappling with it all in the spotlight that followed him since his comment during that Hurricane Katrina benefit (“George Bush doesn’t care about black people”). West staggered around the stage, eventually collapsing facedown on the ground as the string section throbbed urgently, almost like a boot on his neck.

It’s filled with piteous pleading (“Heartless”), humblebrags on the chilliness of fame (“Welcome to Heartbreak,” which includes the couplet “My friend showed me pictures of his kids / And all I could show him was pictures of my cribs”), straight-up bragging (“Amazing”), paranoia, sleepless nights, nightmares out of Stephen King, ending with a declaration that he’ll never love again (and you have to wonder what the current Mrs. On ‘See You in My Nightmares,’ he asked for the backing track to be cut so that he could be accompanied by a moping piano,” the Times’ Jon Caramanica reported. He Auto-Tuned his shaky voice into one part melodic depressive and one part unfeeling cyborg, and then pitted those vocals against the stark buzz and clank of clumsy ’80s synths and drum machines. It’s set to chilly electronic beats (courtesy of the Roland TR-808 – an early drum machine — of the title), synthesized horns and strings, and West’s voice, distorted and metallic, heavily processed by auto-tune, but nakedly emotional. Coupled with lyrics about deception, alienation and loneliness, the record captured that often impossible to explain detachment — and ultimate numbness — that comes with feeling too much.

On Friday, West did his best to recapture the nihilism, vulnerability and ultimate redemption that has since made “808s” one of the more influential albums in rap (without it, Drake, The Weeknd and Frank Ocean might not exist). In the months leading up to the album’s release, his mother died, from complications of cosmetic surgery, and he ended an engagement with a longtime girlfriend. The orchestrations moved between Rodgers and Hammerstein, Ennio Morricone, and the bombast of the soundtracks of ’60s TV cop shows like “The FBI.” And, as on the album, he was joined on various songs by rappers Kid Cudi, Jeezy, and Mr. Though his demeanor was somber as compared to a recent frenetic performance at FYF (and that made-for-social-media ramble onstage at the VMAs), West’s controlled delivery brimmed with an entirely different sort of intensity, the kind that hints there’s far more to West than we know.

They don’t walk down the steps until, during “Paranoid,” they are beckoned by Kanye, and the last of them leave the stage when he sings the lyric “alone” during “Paranoid.” And, of course, during “Coldest Winter,” snowflakes fall. Young Jeezy and Kid Cudi joined him onstage at intervals (as they did on the album), bolstering West’s confidence as he embarked on songs that likely brought back times he’d rather forget. Rather than make another ornate hip-hop symphony rooted in late-90s excess and early-90s social politics, he opted instead to start from whole cloth: he sang, he used Auto-Tune, he delved wholly and deeply into his emotional neuroses and fears.

He’s pulled ideas from a wide range of sources – the French New Wave classic “Last Year At Marienbad,” theater directors Robert Wilson and Peter Sellars, “Aida” (either Verdi’s or Elton John’s). By “Love Lockdown” and “Paranoid,” at least 60-shirtless men — all of color, all rubbed down in white powder — stood behind West on a stage-set of stairs. In so doing, he drew a blueprint for a next generation of artists to remake hip-hop’s center: “So Far Gone,” the mixtape that birthed modern-day Drake, and by extension the sound of contemporary hip-hop, was released just three months after “808s.” At the time, “808s” was Mr.

West’s least commercially successful album, but it is in no way his least impactful. (Look for “Yeezus” to serve a similar function — there may well be concerts devoted to West’s 2013 album in five or so years, once its impact is truly felt.) On stage here, he played “808s” as a sort of Greek tragedy. But by the time he hits the evening’s finale, “Pinocchio Story,” a truly bathetic meditation of the chill of fame (“there’s no Gucci I can buy / There is no Louis Vuitton to put on / There is no YSL they could sell / To get my heart out of this jail”) performed by West wrapped head-to-toe in burlap (he’s supposed to look like a rag doll, but other acceptable answers could include mummy, voodoo doll, or fencing uniform at a very underprivileged academy), it was exhausting to be stuck in West’s world. In pure Kanye fashion, though, these raw moments were matched by the melodrama we’ve come to expect from a man who’s showing his line at New York Fashion Week one moment, posing for the paparazzi the next. After bringing out all the musicians, singers, and dancers to take a bow, West took a final curtain call, and walked offstage, his terse pride a human mic drop.

Backed by a small band and a medium-sized orchestra, he cast these songs as meditations, especially on tracks from the first half of the album like “Welcome to Heartbreak” and “Heartless.” For part of the show, he was flanked by dozens of shirtless men caked with white powder, who stood behind him in a phalanx during “Amazing” and later, on “Love Lockdown,” spread through the crowd, taking up sentry positions in the aisles. (This was one of a few stagings arranged by the artist Vanessa Beecroft, a frequent West collaborator.) Fireworks occasionally shot out into the sky. At the beginning of “Coldest Winter,” about the death of his mother, several women outfitted in ivory sheaths and hijabs wheeled out a slab bearing a woman in repose. But the tour de force was “Pinocchio Story,” the album’s final track, and on the record, something of a ramble. “Maybe that was all my fault,” he muses on this song, looking at himself “chasing the American dream” as the cause of his problems. And the fireworks that were supposed to punctuate various high-points in numbers seemed timed for a less complex sort of show, one that perhaps didn’t involve rappers syncing with string sections, snow machines and staircases to nowhere.

Even though his eyes weren’t visible and he could make only the most cursory of gestures because of the thickness of his outfit, he somehow managed an intense emotional bluntness that was overwhelming. “You’ll never figure out real love,” the song goes, but here, at the end, he shouted, “I feel so much love tonight!” As an album, “808s” is not without its eccentricities and its missteps — several songs have overlong outros that serve largely as distractions, and at this show, there were some stretches that split the difference between artistic statement and confusion. West’s animating tension has always been the one he feels between pleasing the world and keeping himself safe from its vagaries, between being an entertainer and being the entertainment.

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