kanye west and jay-z, watch the throne tour @ the united center, thursday, 12/1. i don’t review shows anymore, so here are just some thoughts.
nosebleed seats at $123 a pop — my most expensive ticket ever — featured an excellent view within the section, but still. i can’t imagine what the floor seats cost, and i wonder who the target audience is. the 1%? corporations and timeshares? are these guys performing for their fans, the 1% of their fans? this tour is raking in more than $1 mm a night apparently.
too much as been written about kanye’s megalomania, so i have few additional comments. he is 100% batshit crazy, and i’m happy i had the chance to once again affirm i guess. he is getting nuttier more years and more $$$, but that’s obviously feeding into his ability as an artist and performer so i kind of love it. all of it, self-aggrandizing and all. the one letdown was the painful conclusion that mr. west is clearly a studio artist. his songs are super-produced, arguably overproduced, with layers and layers of instruments and guest vocals that don’t translate well without live backing during a live show. the epic, headphone-worthy, “all of the lights” (and really everything off my dark twisted fantasy) came across much flatter than i had hoped. see exhibits below.
“all of the lights” recorded:
live in chi (thanks, whoever posted this so quickly):
throughout the show, the giant monitors caught kanye or jay-z candidly, “at rest”, while the other was performing. king kanye looked alternately like, “i am gonna stab you with scissors” or “these leatherette tights that chicks wear are so hot! i mean, they look hot, but also they don’t breathe! must stop sweating. but my manager told me this is what it takes to win grammys. my self worth is 100% dependent on grammys! GRAMMY GRAMMY GRAMMY! i love grammys, not people!”
best part of the candid shots had to be catching jay-z occasionally smiling. juxtaposed with crazy kanye, he otherwise comes across as something of a stoic. is he bored? is he into it? is he over it? is he ashamed of the fact that he is wearing a short-sleeved leather hoodie? is it made with the excess fabric from kanye’s kilt? is he upset that kanye made him do a costume change so that kanye’s fourth outfit didn’t seem like too much?
jay-z, on all of that, just comes across as calm, controlled, possibly even calculating. hard to tell. i find jay-z fascinating, and it stems partly from the fact that he is relatively unattractive, yet has had a wild amount of success through a variety of sounds and styles. seriously. the ugly factor has proven a decent a lagging indicator of actual talent in the entertainment industry, right? steve buscemi? thom yorke? to make it to the top and stay there, you’re either beautiful, talented, or on occasion, you’re both. he proved impressive at the show, and i wish i could have seen more. kanye dominated the setlist at probably 65% of the split (understandable, given this is his hometown), but i saw enough, for as always after a good show, i ran home and bought new tunes. so mr. “i’m not a businessman, i’m a business, man” smiling here and there was kinda nice, a relief, suggesting he maybe wanted to be up there for two and a half hours even if he weren’t pocketing a cool million in revenue to do so.
jay-z – public service announcement
that’s the other thing: 2.5 hours. without a break or a lull really, 2.5 hours of performing deserves some real props. 2.5 hours of keeping most of the crowd moving and engaged is not easy and made it clear these gentlemen are hit machines. impressive stamina too. i haven’t heard that long a performance since the cure (circa 1999? i’m old). granted it was back-and-forth between the two artists throughout, but it was still well thought-out and executed. except for the end.
the good thing about having seeing night2 when a big tour does two nights in a city? reviews of night1 up already, complete with setlist. some people don’t like spoilers, but i don’t mind them. if it’s a good show, i unfailingly become so captivated by the show / film that i forget the spoiler. i will go into titanic knowing the ship sinks, but i’ll forget you told me that once the film’s on. um not a great example — i was waiting for that damn sink to ship for approximately two hours.
on the other hand, if the show lags in any way, my mind will wander and it will wander to the spoiler alert. and worse, now in the age of smartphones, i will call up the setlist to see precisely what’s coming. in this instance, the advance setlist helped me out not once, but twice.
- headsup that ‘ye & z hit the stage would hit the stage more than two hours after the stated start time. poor fools who didn’t cheat by reading the review.
- headsup on what the encore would be, key to timing my exit. the chicago tribune reported the encore would be:
40. N— in Paris
41. N— in Paris
42. N— in Paris
43. N— in Paris
44. N— in Paris
45. N— in Paris
46. N— in Paris
47. N— in Paris
yes, you read that correctly. EIGHT TIMES. it’s not even a good song. i lasted until drill #7. yet as DW pointed out, amazingly most of the crowd was still into it then. DH asked me at some point during the show, “do you think [kanye and jay-z] are the type of artists who perform high or totally drunk?” and i think i replied, “to play that encore eight times? night after night? they have to be.”
but on second thought, i don’t know that that they were…instead, the crowd may have been.
and just because it never gets old: crystal castle reviews k.west
my favorite season is finally here! boots, pie, foliage, burnt orange, pumpkin patches, brown, apples, warm cider on cool, crisp, blustery days …
a good day to think about… how you value your pinky. yes, still on this. JH (during a lecture that cost $500+ to attend) opines:
I’m calling BS on the values people state re pinkies.
[Technique from statistical value of life]
Say Booth announced last year that shop class is mandatory for 2nd years. Unfortunately, someone lost a pinky last year (one out of 572). Because of the danger involved, Booth is making specialized carbon fiber pinky guards available for a cost of $________ (student loans are available). How much do you pay for the pinky guard?
At a value of $10 million, you would buy the guard if the price is $17,000. My belief is that most people would only buy the pinky guard if it was less than, say, $500.
Thus I believe the Booth student values his/her pinky at a maximum of $300,000. Alternatively, $10 million might be $300K for pinky and $9.7MM for having to explain that you sold your pinky…
ps – note that there is an interesting flaw in this logic (that also applies to statistical value of life) that is left as an exercise for the reader.
seeing as how i didn’t even know there was a statistical value of life:
- i’m swayed by this new learning and the fantasy that we could have shop class at booth. i didn’t know what shop class was until i watched the breakfast club which also taught me about flare guns and lobotomies, and then when i actually had shop class in middle school, i learned that “solder” of “soldering iron” fame is pronounced “sodder”, and then i was so stunned that i soldered my shop partner’s pointer finger by accident (hi, BH!! my LED blinker got an A and is still working — your something-degree burn was worth it! to me). so many lessons.
- i need you, reader, to find the logic flaw in JH’s clip above.
separately, (hometown pride) thurston moore and kim gordon of sonic youth broke up after 27 years. let’s commiserate for a moment over the loss of brilliance such as this timely tune:
but really, i think everything is going to be okay — they lasted twenty seven years. “That’s two decades and a second grader! That’s two and a half Biebers!” (dlisted). much more importantly (because recall the focus of this blog — all me, all the time) that makes my age “two decades and a third grader,” which translates loosely to old enough to have spawned a third grader (plus a fraction of a bieber).
not even ten minutes into driving here and my dormant californian driving aggression has already stirred. perhaps it is because i am driving a red car for the first time in my life and i kind of love it. the color, not the car, which amazingly has roll down windows! why is this still an option? i thought it, like scrunchies and my high school ride (below), went the way of the dodo.
- what moms drive: lexus RX 300/400 while texting
- commodity car: toyota corolla / hyundai accent
- average driving skill level: 7 or 8 on a scale of 10
- aggressive driving means: speeding
- actual highway speed vs posted limit: 75 mph vs 65 mph
- achieved gas mileage: 30 mpg
- a car wash is required: every two weeks due to dust and the fact that it never rains in socal
- bicyclists: think they own the road and ride side by side in packs for all of 101, far beyond what the bike lanes allow. generally hated by drivers.
- pedestrians: pffff. as if.
- what moms drive: toyota sienna while eyeing kids in rearview mirror more than the road
- commodity car: chevy aveo
- average driving skill level: 5 out of 10. not sure what an average 5 in driving actually is but this 5 is the weighted average of a bunch of 2’s and 8’s.
- aggressive driving means: cutting off the line of waiting cars at the 90/94 & 55 merge. everyone else is doing it — why can’t i?
- actual highway speed vs posted limit: 30mph vs 60mph, due to traffic at all times of the day. we’ve concluded that no one in chicago actually works because everyone is on the road, all the time.
- achieved gas mileage: 20-25 mpg
- a car wash is required: once every three months. plenty of city dirt, but it rains.
- bicyclists: respected, yet overwhelmingly feared by drivers, due to narrow lanes and potholes that must be suddenly averted (without signalling) by drivers and bikers alike
- pedestrians: know to look both ways before jaywalking. check plus.
- what moms drive: minivans of all sorts, even overpriced american-made ones
- commodity car: dodge neon
- average driving skill level: 6 out of 10 (4 out of 10 when it rains). people know the rules but execute them sooooooooooooooooooo sloooooooooowly that i take a few points off.
- aggressive driving means: driving at the speed limit. merging when the sign says you must (less than 500 feet from merge), as opposed to merging at the first warning sign two miles out.
- actual highway speed vs posted limit: 55 mph vs 65 mph
- achieved gas mileage: 30 mpg. no traffic! ever.
- a car wash is required: only after a long distance drive, just to get the splatter of dead insects off the grill.
- bicyclists: so few i barely noticed them
- pedestrians: walk as if in fact blind. check minus.
featuring cameos by big star and aqua:
i miss you, chi. but i admit, O!NE is growing on me …
(apart from the 1990s, that is)?
i recruited so heavily to get away for a bit, and yet…i’m back to …
i’m so lost! gee, maybe this map that the walking tour guide of wicker park drew for me on my first day in chicago will help me find my way…
no, you’re not blind — those bubbles are streets. who draws maps like that?! the one and only vic g, who may be found around the one and only alliance. you’ll know him when you see him, trust me.