It's almost a headliners' prerogative to turn up late, but Kanye West, who had a sore throat, left it 30 minutes before bouncing onstage at The Big Chill 2011.
In what was to be his only UK festival this summer, the American rapper ran through a hit-filled show in what was the event’s biggest headliner ever.
Boos rang out from impatient sections of the crowd before he kicked off with ‘Dark Fantasy’ following a scattering of women dressed as angels running panicky around the stage and a Roman god-like backdrop was revealed.
He ran into ‘POWER’ as dry ice exploded in front of him and fireworks lit up the sky behind the stage.
“Just piano,” he urged his band on ‘Monster’ as the all-star cast that rapped on the record remained elsewhere.
The band took things down and West used the opportunity to speak to the crowd.
“I’m sorry for losing my voice earlier and turning up late, we’re trying to get this perfect,” he said.
“The media try to spin it as if I’m a monster or something. They don’t realise it’s to make a better product for y’all,” he added.
The rapper continued: “They trying to say hip-hop was dead. It ain’t dead, people are scared to make something different for a change.”
“This isn’t about money it’s about inspiration, it’s about dreams,” he spurted, coughing with a bad throat.
“I’m tired as hell and lonely, but one thing I won’t be is phoney.”
The crowd at the back started to boo.
“[This is] for the sake of people, for the sake of honest music,” he added.
“Michael Jordan took his power to make a difference. There’s so much bullshit right now, someone has to make a difference.”
He then went on to play ‘Good Life’ following the intro of ‘P.Y.T’ by Michael Jackson.
“I’m very frustrated that I can’t perform at the level… [he trailed off] This is one of the most important shows of the summer.
“I’m going to try as hard as I can to give you the best show I can. Even with half a voice.”
It was clearly a struggle for West but, as many left, the hip-hop star spun, danced and sprung along the stage in defiance.
‘All Falls Down’ was a massive sing-a-long for the crowd as West still wowed with a cover of Queen‘s ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘E.T.’ by Katy Perry.
Triumphant renditions of ‘Touch The Sky’ and ‘All Of The Lights’ saw the energetic star rush side to side at the front of the stage.
Toward the end of the show, the star rolled into ‘Chariots of Fire’ as the angels from the start of the show brought on a huge white sheet, tickling the edges and making it ripple before West returned onstage changing into red suit.
He then aired ‘Runaway’ with the white angels now dressed in black.
He ended with ‘Lost in the World’ followed ‘Hey, Mama’ before ending with a Amy Winehouse medley of ‘Tears Dry On My Own’ and ‘Back To Black’.
“This is for [Alexander] McQueen, Amy [Winehouse], Michael [Jackson] and for the media: can you lighten up on the artists still here…” he finished.
“Show of the summer”? It should have been. Performance of the summer, it will be.
Check back for The Big Chill 2011 review.
Kanye West played:
Can’t Tell Me Nothing
Diamonds from Sierra Leone
Hell of a Life
We Will Rock You (Queen cover)/’E.T’ (Katy Perry)
Swagga Like Us
Run This Town
Through the Wire
All Falls Down
Touch the Sky
All of the Lights
Chariots of Fire
Lost in the World
Tears Dry On My Own
Back To Black
Click to download the Kanye West Big Chill 2011 Spotify playlist.