5 Years Since Kanye West At The Hammersmith Apollo (Retrospective Review)

February 24th 2018 marks five years since Kanye played a small but now legendary residency at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. It's forever cemented itself inside my mind as one of the most iconic gigs I've attended for both positive and negative reasons. I thought it would only be fitting to mark this occasion by posting a Retrospective Review of that very night. You'll also find a selection of images and videos from the evening to place you in the world Kanye created that evening.


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Kanye At The Hammersmith Apollo
February 24th 2013

Hip hop’s most outspoken icon, Kanye West, has always been effortlessly unpredictable, whether it be invading award speeches or with one of his outrageous outbursts at shows. Tonight, however, he’s managed to surpass even himself. 

With less than a weeks notice and without any material to promote he’s still managed to sell out the Apollo in less than a single minute, where the audience are currently packed inside like sardines.

The iconic Apollo stage is unrecognisable, every side draped in white sheets, with an arctic landscape protected upon it , the anticipation in the air is at fever pitch but no one could have predicted the first song of the evening as Foreigners 1977 single ‘Cold As Ice’ blares across the room, Kanye rises from behind the stage engulfed in a straightjacket as the projectors now turn the floor into the sea to show him walking on water itself, a knowing reference from the self-proclaimed God.

Kanye has started enthusiastically, setting the stage for a frenzied first hour as he launches into a barrage of his greatest hits such as ‘Power’, ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ and ‘Jesus Walks’. Some concerts have a single iconic moment or song you vividly remember, tonight Kanye has set out to have many, some of these are intentional… some noticeably are not.

The second half of the evening takes on a more introspective and subtle approach, choosing to play rare experimental cuts from his vast discography, It’s interesting to note that when performing his most personal and emotional songs Kanye can’t even bare to show his face, instead hiding it in a diamond encrusted mask for both ‘Say You Will’ and ‘Runaway’ the later of which has an elongated 10 minute piano solo, which both dumbfounds and irritates the hyped up crowd.

What’s bound to get the headlines of course though is Kanye’s erratic behaviour, which tonight is on full display as he berates one of his technicians (who are also dressed in full white as to not disturb the video projections around the room), subsequently restarting ‘All Of The Lights’ a staggering five times, because as he says “the sound just ain’t right” He’s not wrong, however, an unfortunate theme throughout the night is the over-reliance on bass drowning out the sound quality.

As the night draws to a close Kanye starts to mentally combust before our very eyes. The usual horn filled triumphant finale of ‘Touch The Sky’ is replaced by his screams, it manages to reach ear-splitting levels before a sudden silence as his mic launches across the stage into an unfortunate audience member. 

A bizarre and unforgettable night at the Apollo has proven that Kanye might just be the musical genius he’s always claimed to be, if so, however, he’s definitely a tortured and flawed one.

SETLIST:

Cold
Mercy
Can't Tell Me Nothing
Power
Jesus Walks
Say You Will
Heartless
(Birds Interlude)
Homecoming
Flashing Lights
All of the Lights
Birthday Song (2 Chainz cover)
Clique (Kanye West, Jay-Z & Big Sean cover)
I Don't Like (Chief Keef cover) (GOOD Music Remix)
Good Life
All Falls Down
Stronger
Run This Town (JAY-Z cover)
Diamonds (Rihanna cover) (Remix)
Runaway
Lost in the World

ENCORE:
Touch the Sky


Just below I've inserted a selection of clips from that memorable evening, starting with 'Touch The Sky' and the aforementioned break down...