Kanye West

ACL Live Shots

ACL Live Shots
Photo by Gary Miller

Kanye West

Zilker Park, Sept. 16

The biggest single day ever for hip-hop at ACL ended with pop's most polarizing star delivering the most theatrical festival set since Bjork touched down from Venus via Iceland four years ago. As ballerinas swirled across the stage in front of a giant backdrop of battling Greek gods, Kanye West towered some 50 feet above the massive crowd on a hydraulic lift. The chorus of "Dark Fantasy" – "Can we get much higher?" – was rendered rhetorical. His feet back on terra firma, the Act 1 triumvirate of "Power," "Jesus Walks," and "Can't Tell Me Nothing" hit with the force of Zeus' thunderbolt. None of the rumored guests (Jay-Z, Bon Iver) appeared for "Monster," but Yeezy needed no help on this night. For all of the grandiosity (the Act 2 laser show was extraordinary), Kanye was often alone onstage, armed with only a microphone and an astonishing array of hits ("Touch the Sky," "Gold Digger," "Stronger"). With nods to Michael Jackson throughout, including a "P.Y.T." intro spilling into "Good Life" and an extra shout-out on "All of the Lights," West clearly has his sights set on becoming the next king of pop, if not Mount Olympus. For a spectacle that began by feeding the notion of West's god complex, it ended with genuine humility. He thanked his dancers in heartfelt detail and closed with "Hey Mama," a tribute to his fallen mother. It's Kanye's Fantasy; we're just living in it.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Kanye West
Summertime Peruse
Exile in Guyville / My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Liz Phair broke a lot of strings – and Kanye, from bootstraps to bootlickers

Chase Hoffberger, May 30, 2014

Off the Record
Off the Record
The 2011 Austin City Limits Music Festival draws to a close, as does Emo's outside on Sixth Street

Austin Powell, Sept. 23, 2011

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Ben Buck
Kilroy (Record Review)

Derek Udensi, Feb. 21, 2020

Fall Platters
Quin NFN
4NUN (Record Review)

Derek Udensi, Nov. 29, 2019

More by Thomas Fawcett
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
Dallas Acid blows some bubbles, KUTX remembers the Armadillo, and more music for the moment

Aug. 14, 2020

Colombian Folkloric Post-Punks Nemegata Drop Four-Star Debut
Colombian Folkloric Post-Punks Nemegata Drop Four-Star Debut
Local trio finds the fire of the jaguar

July 3, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Kanye West

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle