For me personally, Kanye West as a Saturday night headliner at the greatest festival in the world was a really big deal. He’s probably my favourite rapper (sorry Em) and therefore probably one of my favourite artists full stop, and Glastonbury is my favourite place in the world, the five days of the year I look forward to the most. So when Kanye West was announced as the Saturday night headliner, I’m not sure I ever really grasped the enormity of what I was about to see on June the 27th.
Kanye West exploded onto Worthy Farm with a chorus of Daft Punk-engineered strongers. Followed by screeched yelps of ‘no one man should have all that power’, topped off with ‘that shit crays’ echoing around Pilton like a Chicago-built atomic bomb had finally gone off. My friends and I traded bemused looks of ecstasy (not the drug Mum don’t worry), what an opening, three of Yeezy’s most explosive and well-known singles all fired off in quick succession. Kanye West was finally here, and as he so perfectly puts it, ‘you should be honored by my lateness, that I would even show up to this fake shit.’
Black Skinhead was ultimately ruined by Lee Nelson, and All Day, Cold, Clique, I Don’t Like and Mercy, were simply not received the way ‘Ye thought they would, the UK isn’t as on board with Cruel Summer as the US, or much of his new material for that matter- Glastonbury craves Graduation and Late Registration. I was more shocked than disappointed that not one member of his posse were enlisted to help out, at the very least the ever-irrelevant Chief Keef or Allan Kingdom, especially when he brought out the entire rap world at his last performance in London.
Blood On The Leaves picked things up after a resurgence from New Slaves, and bizarrely an a cappella-ish version of Heartless followed, which simply just didn’t fit at all. For the next five songs plagued with Justin Vernon and autotune, dare I say I was bored? The performance had fallen so flat, with Kanye giving countless co-signs to Vernon, and the bizarre inclusion of one of Yeezy’s worst songs off the top of my head- Hold My Liquor, my mind seriously began to wander. Instead thinking about Shy FX’s set later that night, rather than the greatest rap superstar who was a matter of feet away. Bizarre to think I know, but I promise you I wasn’t the only person feeling this way.
Jesus Walks came, much to the joy of the crowd, and we all belted out the chorus like we were the original choir. Then followed Diamonds From Sierra Leone, again, such a meh Yeezy track to begin with, and we just weren’t up for singing Shirley Bassey samples when Flashing Lights still hasn’t been [and wouldn’t be] played. Bound 2 was a highlight of the performance, thanks to the popularity of Sigma’s collosal remix. The crowd had all picked up now, but then again like with Heartless, Yeezy drops another gem from his catalogue but alters the bass and playback so that the track is crazily slowed down and near a cappella- my absolute favourite, Runaway.
Now comes the supposed ‘big finale’ featuring Kanye on top of a cherry picker aptly ‘touching the sky’. Pretty good idea, with not-so-much execution I’m afraid, the five minute wait before Touch The Sky finally restarts, and Yeezy muttering something on way his out, most of us were expecting a tantrum or rant was coming our way. Atop of the crane, All Of The Lights and Good Life were highlights, but the being in the sky shtick was starting to wear off. Gold Digger was what we received upon Yeezy’s descent, followed by an interesting, yet excellently received All Falls Down finale, again one of my favourites.
In summary, I obviously enjoyed seeing Kanye West, and obviously when people ask me, I’ll obviously say he was incredible, but by no stretch of the imagination was I blown away. I feel Kanye’s set order was the real reason for the slight air of disappointment surrounding his performance at Glastonbury. Heartless and Runaway killed things dead, when they shouldn’t do, Justin Vernon should have been left behind altogether, and to churn out Cruel Summer’s star-studded singles ‘star-less’ was not just naive, but maybe just arrogant. Really good, but nowhere near what I expected from Kanye West.
Video Footage Hopefully Forthcoming.