Yesterday I received a phone call from a friend with an extra ticket to Kanye West’s concert at The At&T Center in San Antonio. I am not a fan of Kanye’s music and the public persona he portrays really bothers me but a free ticket and some time to hang out with a homey so I agreed to go. I will break apart the performance into 2 parts being the performance and the music itself.
Performance – The performance was a diverse mash of arts…part concert, part religious ceremony, part fashion show, part multimedia, and theater to name a few. I was surprised to see the AT&T center completely filled up but even more surprised to see people singing along to Kanye’s music in what I consider to be a very avant garde performance. San Antonio is not the most forward thinking place and I was happy to see so many people enjoying his art. The performance included a lot of Christian motifs and I believe Kanye could very well have been trying to make a point however I am not convinced that he pulled it off. The performance had its dull moment and lacked energy for sure but picked up again near the end with some of his older tracks.
Music – Kanye performed for about 2 hours beginning with most of the material from his latest album. Musically speaking, Kanye’s latest efforts are really challenging for people with traditional pop sensibilities. The tracks are abrasive, distorted, sometimes lacking a beat and often switch into more soft sample based parts that often are bi-polar opposites of the previous parts. For pushing these experimental sounds into the mainstream, I respect Kanye. It would be way to easy for anyone in Kanye’s position to keep writing Golddiggers the rest of his career.
With all of this in mind I’d have to say that the show was interesting to experience kind of like looking at an abstract painting. With abstract painting, the viewer assumes their is some skill involved and in most cases the artist has intentions of conveying an idea but sometimes you see an abstract painting and think, “man a kid could have done this.” That’s kind of how I feel about the show….it’s either high art or the rantings of an egotistical toddler that throws tantrums in the middle of finger painting a Jackson Pollock. I tend to lean towards the latter because Kanye’s lyrics don’t match up to the rest of the vision.