Review: Kanye West @ Hammersmith Apollo, London – March 1

In Hip Hop by Nick Russell

With all the press and various amateur youtube clips surfacing of Kanye’s series of rants you knew this particular outing of the Chi Town superstar in London was going to be special – he’d laid his cards on the table with his rants on Lady Gaga, the President, and his dislike for Justin Timberlake’s Suit and Tie. So therefore it was fitting that a straight jacket (and at times a mask made of diamonds, amongst other ones) was suitable attire for this, his second show in London on his impromptu tour of Europe…

The above average ticket price suggested it was unlikely to be simply Ye’ on the stage and nothing more. Oh no. The stage was instead turned into a weather themed panoramic stage, making the audience feel as tho they’re in the sky with Kanye – as the back drop showed birds, dark clouds, clear horizons, thunder, and a pretty hi-tech snow machine which relentlessly pumped out a ton of watery synthetic flakes for a ten minutes snow fest!

He recited a lot of his classics and recent hits – pulling up ‘All of the lights’ half way thru, which undoubtedly was a personal highlight for the lighting technician! After a period of the stage filling with steam, in a midly concerning way, he emerged after a minute to perform the intro to the Shirtley Bassey sampling ‘Diamonds’, but out of nowhere reverted to his verses on Rihanna’s current hit of the same name – It’s tactics like this that separates the rappers from the performers.

Other memorable moments from the hour and a half show include the extended auto-tuned version of ‘Run Away’ which began with the haunting piano key strikes, earning itself an instant roar from the crowd. The track then followed itself to an impromptu love song to the audience, begging them for a little more time together – as if they had better plans that night..!

Over all it was a memorable night and proved why he’s so revered by a considerable range of the hip hop audience spectrum! 

This was the early birds ready to get in first from around midday when I happened to pass the venue!

The closing curtain for a memorable surprise filled night.