Kanye West performed in full for the first time ever his 2008 album ‘808s & Heartbreak’ in a live concert performance at Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Complete with elaborate staging, guest artists and even a string section, video and photos of the concert have gone viral and social media is abuzz.
It’s a rare treat when an artist performed an entire album, track-by-track, and often the occasion of fanfare or at least expectation. Such was the case when Kanye West took to the stage to perform his 2008 album, ‘808s & Heartbreak’ in full for the first time ever in a live concert. What’s also notable is that Kanye West has not performed many of the individual tracks on the album in a live performance for many years, in some cases not since 2009.
And looking back, the album was a landmark album for Kanye West, as the music forged into territories that seemingly go beyond the genre of hip hop, although, it’s equally valid to argue that this album expanded those territories. Before Auto-Tune became such a source of derision, Kanye West’s heavily Auto-Tuned singing on the tracks was something that critics had much to say about, both in celebration and condemnation. So yes, we may be on to the Yeezus era, but it’s important to take a look back at an artist’s journey and that’s what this concert was.
Entertainment Weekly reports Kanye West had four of his major collaborators on the album on stage to perform their tracks live withhim; rappers Kid Cudi and Lil Wayne Young Jeezy, and British singer-songwriter Mr. Hudson. Also performing with him, a full string section, oboes and eight-person choir all under the direction of a female conductor.
Here’s the full set-list:
Say You Will
Welcome to Heartbreak (with Kid Cudi)
Amazing (with Young Jeezy)
Paranoid (with Mr Hudson and with Kid Cudi)
See You In My Nightmares
And, it’s just the first night of a two-night event, as Kanye West takes to the stage once again on the following night (Saturday). Although naturally much was made over his stopping at one point in the performance due to sound difficulties — which TMZ dutifully reported — that flap has been overshadowed by the concert which has been well received by critics and, for the most part, on social media as well. Once again, Kanye West proved he is more than bluster and bombast and that, in the end, it’s the power and scope of his music that reveals the pioneering artist he is so quick to remind us that he is.
Watch video highlights of Kanye West’s ‘808s & Heartbreak’ concert performance below!