Mr. West Arrests with “Glow in the Dark” Incandescence
Kanye West, Starman.
In a bold, audacious stage presentation that managed to evoke both the Flaming Lips and peak-period Michael Jackson, Kanye West’s “Glow in the Dark” sci-fi spectacle Tuesday night at the Ford Center challenged the conventions of concerts, hip-hop or otherwise.
Opening sets by Rihanna and N.E.R.D. were played in front of a black curtain obscuring West’s elaborate stage. When a jagged remix of Daft Punk’s “Harder Bigger Faster Stronger” blasted through the sound system and the lights came up, West appeared as a space traveler crash-landed on a distant planet, conversing with an onboard computer named Jane and rapping “Good Morning,” from 2007’s “Graduation.”
West spent the entire show alone on stage, rapping and singing “I Wonder,” “Heard ‘Em Say,” “Through the Wire” and “Champion” as his band played in a pit at the foot of the stage. Most of the songs from “The College Dropout” and “Late Registration” were given a new electronic shine that meshed well with the synthesizer sheen of the “Graduation” tracks and the sci-fi trappings of West’s concept.
The sloping stage featured a ramp surrounded by sand dunes and an enormous screen that continually displayed comets, stars and nebulae, setting the various stages of West’s situation and establishing a loose framework for his songs. As the opening chords of “Flashing Lights” played, a cluster of purple orbs descended from the ceiling, leading into charged performances of “Gold Digger” and “The Good Life.”
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