Kanye West Air Canada Centre, Toronto ON - November 9, 2005
Published Jan 01, 2006The roaring heart of hip-hop that is Kanye West will have a hard time topping his awe-inspiring ACC set the next time he comes to Toronto. As if it wasn't enough to come out on his first headlining tour armed with songs from his two classic albums, Kanye also put his perfectionist's zeal into his stage show. Strutting on-stage to Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up," West launched into a glorious version of "Touch the Sky" that simply ignited the arena. From there he never let up for two hours, peppering his set with equal doses of The College Dropout and Late Registration. Songs like "Crack Music," "Get Em High" and "The Workout Plan" shook the whole room, while "All Falls Down," "Jesus Walks" and "Drive Slow" were simply stirring. There was an intimacy and theatricality to West's show that surpassed expectations of what the ambitious performer might attempt. Designer Es Devlin's set was amazing, an artfully-crafted shadow and light trick that shrouded percussionists, a keyboard player, a string section, and Montreal DJ champ A-Trak in a giant white box. West paid tribute to all kinds of music, hopping out of a bed during "Late" to dance to an alarm clock blaring A-ha and Prince, and taking a break to let A-Trak blast classics by A Tribe Called Quest and the Pharcyde. West's overflowing passion came through in emotional takes on "Spaceship" and "Roses," and he couldn't help but exhort the crowd during a blazing "Gold Digger." "White people," he screamed, "This is your only chance to say nigga, so take advantage!" In one night, West rapped, danced and joked his way to proving that he is the world's most electric and inspiring showman. The Roc was definitely in the building.