Stepping into Memorial Stadium on Sunday night to check out Kanye West I had very high expectations. I had been hearing and reading how good Kanye was live, and I was skipping Jose Gonzalez and Zero 7 to see for myself. Met by over 22,000 excited fans, I was immediately caught up in the energy. The place was absolutely buzzing in anticipation after local hip-hop heroes Blue Scholars finished their set (which I missed to finish a couple extra beers).
Now, let me say, I was not a Kanye West fan and didn't truly understand how and why he had become so popular. Also, Memorial Stadium is the last place anybody would expect to be a good place to see a live show because it is basically an old run down high school football stadium. But this was being touted as "The Show" of Bumbershoot 2006, so I decided I couldn't miss it.
Kanye came out at 9:30 sharp singing "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" and the crowd went nuts! He was backed a few singers, a DJ and few women playing stringed instruments. The sound was exceptional for an outdoor show and the extra instrumentalists heightened the vibe.
He played mostly hits, including "Drive Slow", "Gold Digger", "Jesus Walks", and "Through the Wire". It then struck me how many songs I knew for not being a fan and West having only two albums out.
Midway through the show Lupe Fiasco joined Kanye on stage and together they performed "Touch the Sky". Lupe was also allowed to perform his current hit "Kick Push" while Kanye went back stage.
Overall, Kanye surpassed all expectations and put on a show that would be expected of the superstar that he has become. The crowd, including myself, showed our appreciation to Kanye as we nodded, bobbed, bounced, shook and waved through the entire one-and-a-half-hour set.