Review: Kanye West at Vector Arena

By Joanna Hunkin

As Kanye West emerges from a swell of smoke, swathed in orange neon light, we begin our intergalatic journey.

Well ... that's what many may have thought they were in for, after the international write-ups of the show.

Instead, New Zealand was treated to a stripped back version of the tour at Vector Arena last night, with a seven-piece band in welders' masks and two robotic-inspired back up singers.

Not quite the full orchestra and pyrotechnic display, London audiences were treated to last week.

And the show got off to somewhat shaky beginnings as troublesome sound levels created unpleasant distortion during the opening tracks.

As technicians scrabbled around the side of the stage, things soon came right - just as West kicked things up a gear with a spitfire performance of Can't Tell Me Nothing.

But it wasn't until the Coldplay collaboration Homecoming that West really hit his stride, before flicking on the turbo charge for Touch the Sky.

It may be easy to dismiss the singer as a bit of a spinner - his ego alone is more than big enough to fill Vector Arena - but you can't deny his talent.

As the main set came to a close with a hyper-extended version of Gold Digger, it seemed West had decided to stick solely to the concert's original set list, devised last year to support his third album, Graduation.

But as the second and third encores played out, he treated his audience to a sample of his new robotic synth-pop.

A medley of Paranoid, Amazing and Heartless gave fans a first-hand sample of West's new "pop art" sound, which went down a treat with the hip-hop loving crowd. But none more so than his latest single Love Lockdown, with its screeching sound effects.

It may not have been the show fans expected from a man who usually subscribes to the "bigger is better" school of thought. But it was plenty enough for Auckland.

- NZ Herald

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