ACL Review, Photos: Kanye West, Friday, Bud Light
Hip-hop performances can suffer at large festivals because they’re largely dependent on the artist themselves to do the heavy lifting. Backing tracks might sound good, but it’s hard to beat a live band bringing live energy. If one artist can change this, it’s Kanye West. His music is custom-built to be as big as possible, and on Friday night Kanye showed why he’s one of the biggest in the business. His show doesn’t pull any punches: a large video screen announced different dramatic acts in the performance, and the set kicked off with a long opera sample trumpeting Kanye’s grandiose intentions. Dancers, lights, and suspended platforms turned the Bud Light stage into Kanye’s personal playground, but a muddy mix and technical difficulties almost derailed the show. He soldiered on though, firing off crowd favorites like “Jesus Walks” and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” alongside “Monster” and “Power.” The older songs were as big as the new ones, showing off Kanye’s brilliant sense of scale when it comes to songwriting. Even in the very back of the crowd, near the middle of the park, fans were willing to follow Kanye’s every move and syllable as he put on a dramatic show.
- Art Levy
Photos via Mari Hernandez