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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Glow in the Dark Tour at the KeyArena

posted by on April 17 at 17:31 PM


Words and photos by Morgan Keuler

Sorry everybody, no Kanye pictures from last night. Apparently everything really has gone to his head. We (the photographers) were told there just wasn’t enough room in the pit for everything that was going to go on during his show. Stand back, that glow in the dark jacket and glasses pairing is too much for people to be so close too. ‘That damn Kanye, he’s so hot right now!’ Apparently that’s why were going to have to shoot ALL of the opening acts from the sound board at the back of the arena.


But after Lupe, they realized we’d be in the way at the sound board (shocker!?), and let us go up to the pit. And by THEY, I mean the tour people, not STG or Key Arena reps. All of the above were actually exceedingly nice about it, but perhaps as expected, everything was pretty disorganized for the first night of the tour. That’s not a big surprise when you’ve got, no joke, 12 buses and 5 semis worth of people and gear to coordinate.

All of the performances were on point. I was surprised they had Lupe go on first, and though his set was good, it didn’t have enough time to develop into anything like this or this.


N*E*R*D was “The Pharell Williams show,” and he definitely provided the oddest moment of the night—after N*E*R*D’s set, he came back on the stage about 20 minutes later, I was thinking he was going to introduce Rihanna, but he gave a heart felt apology for swearing during their performance because there were kids in the audience! Really? It didn’t occur to you that there’d be some kids amongst the 15,000+ fans there? And, really, who fucking cares?


Then Rihanna was her fine Barbadian pop/R&B Jay-Z protege self, though sadly no silver body paint.

I didn’t have it in me to stick around for Kayne’s performance, but something tells me it would have looked just like this with a bunch of glow in the dark shit…

Picture from Bumbershoot 2006

Words and photos by Morgan Keuler

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You couldn't be more wrong about the Kanye performance. It was one of the coolest and most elaborate stage setups I've seen, and your whiny ass couldn't get in the pit because it was full of musicians. Poor privileged press people! :(

Posted by bunnypuncher | April 17, 2008 7:20 PM

PS - Remind me not to post comments after a bad day at work. That last post was really jerky, and I feel stupid now.

Posted by bunnypuncher | April 17, 2008 7:24 PM

I have no doubt it was a great light riddled show. That's what struck me as being so odd. He's going out on this big tour and has got shit to sell and I bet it would be nice to promote it with, I don't know, pictures? Why have press there if you're not going to let them cover it? At the very we least we could have shot from the wings besides the audience/pit.

Then again, Kanye never has been one for self promotion - pretty demure. Maybe he's doing the whole anti-promotion promotion thing. That damn Kanye!

Since you were there with a front row view, how was it? Full string section, all act encore sing-a-long? Let us know.

PS - Glad you came to your senses :)

Posted by MK | April 17, 2008 9:36 PM

The stage setup looked like the surface of another planet, all hilly uneven. He had a giant square platform in the middle that was slightly angled towards the audience. There was a GIANT light display behind him, and a screen that would occasionally drop down in front of that with projections. There was a loose story to his entire set about being stranded on a planet and being the last "creative person" alive. So at the start of the set it's totally dark and you hear a robotic female voice talking to Kanye about crash landing and not being able to be repaired. Throughout the rest of the set there was dialog between Kanye and his robot spaceship woman. The giant square platform in the middle turned out to be hydraulic and had all kinds of lights and smoke machines, so during a the song "Spaceship" it rises up into the air with lights circling it and looks like a spaceship. Kanye was the only person onstage the entire time, no DJ, no guests. I was hoping for some CRS material since Pharell and Lupe were there, but then after seeing the story the set followed, I realized it wouldn't make sense to have guests. The orchestra in the pit was hard to see because it was mostly dark, but there looked like around 10 musicians: guitars, drums, a DJ, I heard some other percussion like a tympani. I can't remember if there were strings. There was no actual encore, but there was a weird part where you thought the set was over, Kanye walks to the side of the stage and sits down, and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" starts blasting. My wife and I are laughing, waiting for a beat to drop, but the song JUST KEEPS PLAYING. It gets through around half of the song, and finally Kanye jumps up and goes into another song. It's really bothering me that I can't remember what song it was, because it was actually kind of a perfect transition. Ah well, maybe next time I'll bring a notepad.... ;)

Posted by bunnypuncher | April 18, 2008 12:56 AM

Kanye's set was amazing, probably the most elaborate, well produced live set I've ever seen. It was perfectly on cue, he sounded great, and the 50 foot by 70 foot jumbo plasma screen behind him was set up to look like the horizon on some Herbert-esque desert planet. There was one laughable part when an alien woman doll dropped from the rafters for pretty much no reason to talk to him, and when his space ship's computer tried to seduce him via porn, but all in all it was enjoyable.

I felt Rhianna's performance was lackluster, she danced more than she sang and let the backup track do most of the real work for her.

NERD was amazing, high energy as always. Pharrell's voice cutting out in the middle made the second half of the set into an audience call out session, but otherwise solid. Their set up with two percussionists was pretty intense.

Lupe is an amazing songwriter, but has demonstrated time and time again that he doesn't have the charisma to project hi energy to the crowd. He needs a good hype man.

Posted by Joh | April 18, 2008 6:32 AM

Thanks guys, definitely more justice than I could have done for Kanye's show. I was kidding when I said the anti-promotion promotion thing, but it's pretty clear that's exactly what he's doing.

Sure people will have their unintelligible cell phone and point & shoot camera stuff, but if they keep things under raps it will just make it that much more desirable to see.

Then again, more desirable for what? I don't think this tour will have any trouble selling out every show. Oh that brilliant mind of Kanye that we will never understand...the last creative person in the universe!

Posted by MK | April 18, 2008 9:25 AM

well, he clearly didn't sell out seattle. but i agree, his set was one of the most entertaining and well-produced i've seen...with the exception of the alien boobie doll. i hope someone's got a photo of that gem.

...and i was actually wondering where the photographers would be, since the pit was occupied by his "orchestra".

Posted by anna | April 18, 2008 11:02 AM

Joh, I respectfully disagree with most of your post.

I think Lupe proved at Bumbershoot last year that he can work a crowd as well as anyone. He maybe didn't bring it fully this time, but he has it.

I've always found NERD to be really contrived, I thought their set was by far the low point of the show. Of course, this could all be about perspective - I spend multiple nights a week at REAL rock shows where REAL bands are bleeding and sweating for me. And I love the Neptunes, but NERD to me seems like Ryan Adams doing hip hop - no thanks.

And with Rihanna, again this could be a perspective thing. I don't see a lot of live pop music, but she was exactly what I was expecting and hoping for. Her whole production, from the dancers to the wardrobe changes, was over the top. The choreography was entertaining, she sang just enough to make it a live show, and I dug it. But I guess I just expect a lot less from my pop stars than I do my rock bands....

Posted by bunnypuncher | April 18, 2008 1:01 PM

Oh, but the 2 drummer thing during NERD's set was pretty cool, especially the dueling solo.

Posted by bunnypuncher | April 18, 2008 1:18 PM

Yeah, as someone who's never been to a REAL rock show with REAL bands, I guess my opinion is invalidated.

Posted by Joh | April 18, 2008 4:08 PM

Way to take it personal, dude. ;)

I was calling out NERD on being a weak excuse for a "rock" band. That band has about as much to do with "rock" music as, well, the rest of the lineup at that concert.

Posted by bunnypuncher | April 18, 2008 4:53 PM

Sadly, It came off as dismissive. If it was not meant to be, then no harm, no foul. I respect your views and all that shit.

Posted by Joh | April 18, 2008 6:34 PM

Hey, small correction - The tour is 15 semis, the set alone is 5 trailers.

Posted by djshield | April 18, 2008 7:51 PM

@13 Yeah, I lost track at a certain point when there were as many buses outside of the Key Arena secure lot as inside.

Posted by MK | April 19, 2008 10:49 AM

Most of N.E.R.D.'s CD "Fly or Die" Rawks! Maybe their live show is contrived, but that recording brings the Classic Rock. Give it a listen. I dare yous!

Party on!

Posted by Remele | April 19, 2008 8:12 PM

N.E.R.D. is definitely contrived. Fun for sure- I loved the first one (@ least the rerelease that was re-done w/a sorta REAL rock band)- but a REAL rock band their not. and just as with the Neptunes, the farther Chad Hugo is pushed out of the spotlight by Skateboard P, the worse the music gets.

Posted by lar | April 20, 2008 12:57 PM

Lar - I really liked the original version of "Lapdance" and the couple other songs I heard leaked way before the official release. And I totally agree with you about Chad Hugo!

Posted by bunnypuncher | April 20, 2008 6:34 PM

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