Kanye West October 25, MGM Grand Garden Arena
Everything became a little much when Jesus Christ met Kanye West at the MGM Grand. The pyrotechnics, the Armageddon-grade chest-throttling bass, the girls, who I took to calling souls, as they were faceless and wore flesh-colored body suits—I feel safe calling these par for the course for a night with West, especially since it was in support and representative of his most recent full-length album, Yeezus, a completely bizarre and powerfully hubristic experiment somewhere between brilliant and bat sh*t.
Up until that lanky son of God walked out and placed his hand on West’s head before “Jesus Walks” poured from the speakers, I was with him. It was serious and spooky, infernal and metaphoric, artistic and believably intense. He plowed through the entire album, his souls constantly rejoining him, his backdrop Rock of Gibraltar constantly bursting into flames. It was moving.
But right when Jesus came out, West let you step outside his world. He made it a joke, a sort of, “Okay, thanks for indulging, back to the sh*t you know,” running through a list of cuts as deep as 2004’s The College Dropout to uproarious reception (I don’t feel out of bounds saying 90 percent of the audience was there to hear “All of the Lights” from 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy).
It was almost unsettling, finding out that it was all just a show, a product of the music industry, despite knowing exactly what it was. You have to ask yourself, after a night like that, whether West just mastered the machine, or if he built a new one.