Kanye West pulls the plug on Columbus
The Kanye West show scheduled to take place this Friday at Nationwide Arena has officially been canceled, according to a posting on West's official site. There are no plans for a make-up date, and refunds should be available at the point of purchase.
The cancellation stems from a late October incident where a truck carrying a 60-foot circular LED screen was involved in a traffic accident that damaged the gear, which a spokesman for West termed "central to the staging of the Yeezus Tour," beyond repair.
It's a decision that will likely rile up the rapper's detractors, seeing that West tends to generate a strong reaction nearly every time he opens his mouth - be it on record or off.
The Chicago-born MC is headstrong, fearless, outspoken, radical, brilliant and, yes, occasionally misguided (it's hard to ignore the ugly strain of misogyny infecting his latest album Yeezus). He's also driven to an almost clinical degree, which helps explain, in part, why he never sounds even the slightest bit complacent on record. "You see it's leaders, and it's followers," he fumes on "New Slaves," and there's never any doubting where 'Ye falls on the spectrum.
To put it more succinctly, West is the most compelling figure making music today - someone made all the more intriguing for his willingness to openly embrace his various flaws and contradictions - and there's little doubt his show at Nationwide Arena would have stood as one of the year's best concerts.
So, yes, we're bummed. But instead of pouting, we've put together the set list we wish we could have heard this weekend. Use our playlist to recreate your own Kanye concert from the comfort of your own home.
"Black Skinheads" (Yeezus, 2013) - Kanye kicks off the show with (arguably) the angriest cut off (obviously) his angriest album. Visceral.
"New Slaves" (Yeezus, 2013) - West tackles issues of race, consumerism and the private prison complex atop a beat that calls to mind Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People."
"Can't Tell Me Nothing" (Graduation, 2007) - Kanye at his most obstinate, eloquent and self-effacing.
"Stronger" (Graduation, 2007) - The Daft Punk-sampling tune still sounds futuristic.
"All of the Lights" (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010) Everything about this song - the "Rocky"-esque horns, the Rihanna-crooned hook, the drum break - appears specially engineered to rock arenas.
"Two Words" (The College Dropout, 2004) - "Two Words" could have been titled "Two Worlds," as it found the MC bridging mainstream hip-hop with the backpacker scene. What better way to shift to the more introspective portion of the set?
"Blood on the Leaves" (Yeezus, 2013) - The rapper twists the race anthem "Strange Fruit" into a defense of marriage prenups, and it somehow works.
"Flashing Lights" (Graduation, 2007) - Kanye employs one of his biggest gripes (being stalked by paparazzi cameras) as the backdrop for a string-kissed treatise on the strain physical and emotional distance can put on a relationship.
"Bound 2" (Yeezus, 2013) - 'Ye's version of a hip-hop meet-cute.
"Put On" (Young Jeezy's The Recession, 2008) - While it's not technically a Kanye song, the rapper owns it with his guest verse, touching on his Chicago hometown and the 2007 death of his mother Donda West.
"Hey Mama" (Late Registration, 2005) - Since his mom's death this song has evolved into a tearful eulogy as affecting as anything in the rapper's deep catalog.
"Heartless" (808's & Heartbreak, 2008) - The best cut on West's most under-appreciated album finds the rapper crooning like a heartbroken android.
"Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix)" (Late Registration, 2005) - "Diamonds are forever," sings Shirley Bassey on the hook, but West spends the verses wondering if they should be, torn between his love of flash and the human cost of the diamond trade.
"All Falls Down" (The College Dropout, 2004) - When West first peeled back the curtain on mainstream hip-hop, rhyming, "We all self-conscious/I'm just the first to admit it," it sounded jarring. Now it just sounds prescient.
"Touch the Sky" (Late Registration, 2005) - Here's West at his most carefree, dropping celebratory rhymes atop a slew of vintage soul horns.
"Dark Fantasy" (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010) - West ruminates on his success ("I fantasized 'bout this back in Chicago") while sounding hungry for more.
"Runaway" (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010) - Kanye's most self-lacerating song ("Let's have a toast for the douchebags") is also his most beautiful.
"Power" (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010) - Kanye trumpets his skills and dismisses his haters atop a beat that makes me want to run through a brick wall Juggernaut-style.
"Send It Up" (Yeezus, 2013) - Because the air-raid sirens should sound huge in the live setting.
"Jesus Walks" (The College Dropout, 2004) - Almost a decade after its release the song still sounds massive. Bonus points if the rapper changes the hook to "Yeezus walks."