Big Chill Review
Kanye West pays tribute to Amy Winehouse...
Monday, August 8, 2011 - 13:13
The on-off rain showers at the Big Chill Festival on Saturday failed to deter the crowds for Janelle Monae - a classy, energetic and polished performance by a star clearly on the rise.
Her ensemble, including a string quartet, caped dancers, and the ‘funkiest horn section in Metropolis’, impressed, but the stage was all Monae’s.
At a frenetic pace the versatile 25 year old sang, rapped, shimmied and moonwalked her way through the set. ‘Cold War’, and ‘Come Alive’ were standouts, as well as a stunning rendition of Nat King Cole’s ‘Smile’, and a crowd-pleasing cover of The Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’.
Though a minor infraction, Monae can on occasion appear somewhat distant, due to her minimal personal interaction with her audience, which is something that can’t be said of the headline act, Kanye West.
But first to Jessie J. Despite a broken toe (ensuring she was seated throughout), the Essex born entertainer wowed with her strong vocals, and easy-going charm.
Chart hits such as ‘Do It Like A Dude’ and ‘Price Tag’ were highlights, everyone joined in, and a good time was had by all - especially the two lucky fans who briefly got to join her on stage.
So back to Mr West. An increasingly restless crowd began booing as they awaited the producer/rapper/singer’s arrival (he was over 40 minutes late).
When he finally appeared, to everyone’s surprise, on the lighting tower facing the stage, all was forgotten and the park came alive.
The set was big - Greco-Roman iconography and a troupe of female dancers, and the sound was bigger. A string of hits such as ‘POWER’, ‘Gold Digger’ and ‘Jesus Walks’ meant a solid start and underlined why he is one of the world’s most bankable performing artists. But a ten-minute ‘speech’ (backed by a piano, for effect) against his perceived mistreatment in the media, among other things, interrupted the proceedings and temporarily lost sections of the crowd.
Nevertheless West delivered a high-octane performance, lasting over two hours, and which ended with a tribute to Amy Winehouse.
All in all, a great headline act, but there were some odd moments.
Reviewed by MB and KO
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