Kanye West Touched the Sky
Anthony Obi
staff writer
December 01, 2005
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HOUSTON, TX (RMR) Kanye West is perhaps the best live performer in hip-hop today. On Friday, November 25, Kanye West made his way into Houston on the Touch the Sky tour. His tourmates are currently Keyshia Coles and Fantasia. Common was originally scheduled as a performer on the tour, but dropped out weeks ago to handle a movie offer. With that in mind, Kanye set out to perform a longer set rather than get a replacement for Common. It was announced before the show that Fantasia would not be performing due to an illness, but Kanye West and Keyshia Coles would still hit the stage. From my point-of-view, this announcement didn’t bother a single person, as everyone was full of excitement for Kanye.

Keyshia Coles' opening set consisted of performances of her most well known songs, including her latest singles “I Should Have Cheated” and “Love.” Accompanioned by two back up singers/dancers, she set things up for Kanye and got most of the female portions of the audience hyped. Her songs of men doing women wrong really speak to the young ladies of America. She even covered the modern day classic, “I’m Goin’ Down” by Mary J. Blige. If that doesn’t strike a cord with the broken hearts of music fans, I don’t know what will. After a short set, she said her goodbyes and announced Kanye would be out soon.

With the curtains closed, a short filmed skit was projected featuring Broke Phi Broke, the fraternity which Kanye belongs to. As soon as Kanye hit the stage, the entire room stood up! From every side of the arena to the very floor, bodies were on the feet and diamonds were in the air. Kanye ran through many, many tracks and went strong all through an hour and a half set. Key album tracks and singles set an even balance of College Dropout and Late Registration, while the crowd held on to every lyric. Kanye came well prepared with a great selection off backing musicians. All behind Kanye, you could find DJ A-Trak, Karriem Riggins on percussion, Omar Edwards on the keys, a seven-piece string orchestra, and male and female back-up vocalists to the left of the stage. Each person played a key role in the show and added something new to Kanye’s well known songs. This fresh feel kept the audience excited and attentive to every second of the concert. Props, outfit changes, and other theatrics were all part of the show, and are presented in between songs. With so many prepared effects, the show was truly theatre for Hip Hop fans. Occasionally accompanied by GLC and Really Doe, Kanye ran through song after song and kept the energy flowing throughout the night. A few times, Kanye stepped aside and let DJ A-Trak handle things. A-Trak dropped classic R&B joints and even current hits, such as "Welcome to Jamrock" by Damian Marley and "Diamonds (Remix)" by Slim Thug. Kanye also revelled in his own glory by getting the crowd to rock along to some of his production. While A-Trak played Twista's "Overnight Celebrity," Kanye let the crowd know he was the man behind the beat (just in case anywhere was not aware).

If you ever get a chance to see Kanye live, don't hesitate. Kanye fans: you won’t be disappointed. Hip Hop fans: you won’t be disappointed. Music fans: you won’t be disappointed, whatsoever. The “Touch the Sky” tour is sure to make a name for Kanye West as a fantastic live performer.