Review: Kanye West at Glastonbury 2015

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Kanye West controversially headlined the Saturday at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. Despite many hoping he would fail, two of The Edge’s writers believe he did the complete opposite. Read the views of Jack Gracie and Evan Smithson below.

When Kanye West was first announced to be playing Glastonbury earlier this year I got pretty excited. Finally, I thought, finally he can have a chance to show a few people that there’s a bit more behind him than being that guy that who interrupted Taylor Swift and married Kim Kardashian. The first few songs started off strong. With the light rig down low, and the music up load, it seemed as though he was going to hold his own, that he could pull it off on such a famous stage; and after so many rejections.

However, when the lights raised up it seemed to become a completely different gig. The songs slowed down immensely, which is normally understandable to happen at some point, but they became almost non-existent. Technical fault, after annoying comedian, after technical fault; Kanye barely even singing due to being so out of breath, and when eventually doing so, being auto-tuned to hell. On the albums, auto-tune is used to his advantage, tweaked and changed to the point where it works, but that can’t happen live, it just ends up being awful. It actually became painful in parts of the show, where songs that I usually enjoyed felt like they were being dragged through a dalek voice-changer.

This lull then proved to be especially hard to break out of. With club songs such as ‘Lost in the World’ and ‘Hold My Liquor’ also failing to build the performance back to its original hype. Kanye just seemed to be tired, from both physical and mental exhaustion. There were a few songs that he carried, performing the rap in ‘Jesus Walks’ to his usual standard, and not butchering the auto-tune in ‘Only One’, but it wasn’t looking amazing.

And then the crane happened. I can’t tell if it was due to the music actually being good, or the relief that the bad was over, but the last quarter of the performance was incredible. Kanye was back on form, bringing back the hits where his lyrics were at their best, and his songs the most fun. I can understand the anger and mockery behind the Queen interlude, but to me it felt like a personal moment for Kanye as, after all, when you’re on the biggest stage in the world, wouldn’t you want to attempt the biggest karaoke song ever?

I was definitely naïve in the idea that one performance could change people’s minds, especially given the amount of problems, but in the end Kanye has never cared for the people that hate him, so maybe I should too. It was a fun night for the fans, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Words by Jack Gracie

Whether it was excitement or simply cynicism, Kanye West’s headline set was the most anticipated at this year’s Glastonbury. Any Kanye fans would tell you that he had the potential to deliver something incredible, whilst his critics were no doubt waiting for Kanye to put his foot in his mouth once again.

Starting the set with a dazzling lighting rig slowly lowered over the stage, the Daft Punk sample that opens ‘Stronger’ boomed out and sent the crowd into uproar. Following immediately with ‘Power’, it appeared as if the set was going to be triumphant. Kanye owned the stage with his presence, strutting around the stage without ever leaving the spotlight.

After performing his part of the incessantly popular ‘Niggas in Paris’, comedian Lee Nelson invaded the stage during ‘Black Skinhead’, providing a potential stumbling block. In an anti-climax for any detractors, Kanye acted professionally, simply restarting the song. The interruption did nothing to slow the energetic performance, which relaunched with ‘All Day’, Kanye’s hyperactive recent single.

After quickly rattling through a handful more of collaborative tracks, the pace slowed for a duet with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, who joined Kanye for their tracks ‘Lost In The World’ and ‘Hold My Liquor’. In the midst of the first, Kanye took the time to interact with the crowd, but instead of a self-indulgent rant he told the story of how he wrote the song from a love letter to his wife Kim Kardashian.

Away from the spotlight, producer Mike Dean was kept busy with his duties on guitar as well as providing almost all of the instrumentals and live autotune. A few minor technical hitches inevitably occurred, slightly marring ‘Hold My Liquor’, but they couldn’t dampen the performance.

75 minutes into the show, the lights dropped, then burst back to life, revealing an empty stage and Kanye in a cherry picker above the crowd, from which he performed ‘Touch The Sky’, ‘All of the Lights’, and ‘Good Life’.

Perhaps as a hilarious response to the petition signed by 130,000 to replace Kanye’s performance with a “rock band”, Kanye led the crowd in a cover of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ before his proclamation to the crowd “you are now watching the greatest living rock star on the planet!” before ending the set with ‘Gold Digger’ and the classic ‘All Falls Down’.

The show was an astounding success, a spectacle packed with hits and the perfect amount of braggadocio.

Words by Evan Smithson

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I like sitting by the fire, long walks on the beach, and sunsets. I am also fond of Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain, but I would like to add that I am not into yoga.

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Former youngest person in the world. Music listener, word user, soon to be master of physics.

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