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Friday 20 October 2017

RAP SUPERSTAR PHONES IT IN. NICE MASK THOUGH...

KANYE WEST

"This is the type of night you're gonna tell your kids about for the rest of your life." Steady on, Kanye. Actually, you might be on to something there. Maybe one day, we'll explain to our children how, on the night Kanye West came to rock Marlay Park, hip hop's most entertaining character let us down.

"He phoned it in, kids," we'll say. "But hey, at least we got to see Yeezy throw a hissy fit." Well, that's what it looked like from where we were standing.

Three songs in, and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the button-pushers on either side, Mr West does indeed walk off stage. What's happened? I don't know. But he doesn't look best pleased.

It's hard to tell what with that bejewelled mask hiding his face (the chap has gone all Daft Punk on us this evening), but Kanye's determined stroll is that of one unhappy camper. Thankfully, he's back with us in no time, but what follows is a distracted and largely disengaged performance.

Aside from the gigantic, single-block screen structure at the centre of Kanye's vast stage (which features our star attraction, blown up in nightmarish infrared), this is a surprisingly scaled-back production. A little cheap, even.

SKILLS

It's not that Kanye - donned in washed-out denim, a heavy gold chain dangling from his neck - isn't a good rapper. On Clique, he ditches the beat and presents us with a breathless round of slick wordplay. The dude's got mad skills, don't you know.

And yet, a double whammy of Power and Stronger reminds us that we're dealing with a heavyweight; a rap artist whose ear for a cracking sample significantly outshines that of his lyrical prowess (it's mostly fashion labels, chicks and moolah with this guy).

A brief snippet of Paris follows suit, but for some reason or other, he demands a re-start with that one (it makes no difference when Jay Z isn't here to do his part).

Later, he'll complain of "too much echo" on Runaway, a song that sounds wonderful on record but does nothing for Kanye (37) in a live setting.

The American rapper also wears the hell out of his trademark auto-tune/vocoder skit (you are not, and never will be, a robot, Kanye, so stop trying to sound like one).

He's in his own world up there. As a result, large chunks of the set plod along with little or no direction or effect. We don't need a pre-recorded Rihanna vocal, nor do we desire half-finished live cuts from the bloke's early albums, and it's only when the sun goes down that Kanye remembers to get involved.

ENTHRALLING

"We in a movie right now!" he proclaims. Uh, no, we in a park, Kanye. All of the Lights and Touch the Sky work magnificently well, and finally, we get a glimpse of the enthralling superstar we came to see.

"It's been a glorious occasion," he says, signing off after 90 minutes. Keep telling yourself that, mate. We're just raging we missed the man in the hat (Pharrell Williams) on support. I heard he put on a super show. Pity he wasn't top of the bill.

HHHII

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