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Kanye West's full Coachella 2011 set [Video]

May 10, 2011 | 11:55 am

Kanye West is a one-man wedge issue. So like anything Louis Vuitton don-related, the superstar's Coachella performance was polarizing.

In this newspaper and here on Pop & Hiss, Todd Martens hailed the "high-concept concert as one-man-show .... As entertainment, West's set was captivating, a festival performance unlike any other, and one that often showcased the artist and the artist alone on a minimal stage."

Others found it self-indulgent and verging on self-parody. They mocked the spectacle, the corny "Chariots of Fire" theme interlude, and the Black Swan ballerina motif. At one point everyone disappeared under a large flowing white sheet -- presumably to summon Alvin Ailey's ghost. 

It was a warts-and-all performance from a man who hates warts. No big-name guest appearances, and no studio trickery to mask West's wafer-thin singing voice, stretching out across the massive Polo Grounds.

Regardless of your opinion, it was undeniable that West remains one of the most forward thinkers in the attenuated radio rap world. The histronics were patently absurd, but it was hard not to respect his passion and conceptual ambition. Also, you can't deny that the man has hit after royalty-cashing hit.

Examine the depth of the set list. His "Austin Powers" and "Happy Gilmore" jokes have aged like unrefrigerated cream cheese, but it's tough to avoid bobbing your head to "Gold Digger" or "Touch the Sky" or "Flashing Lights."

The set's audio leaked yesterday. (You can download a .zip file of it.)The full video emerged a few weeks ago and is ideal for those seeking to relive their favorite moments, or just watch Kanye emerge from a giant crane while bragging about how this was what he fantasized about back in Chicago.

Bringing your own backup dancing ballerinas is recommended, but certainly not mandatory. 


Live review: Kanye West at Coachella 2011 

And now begin the Kanye West critical walkbacks

Kanye West examines real versus fake, puppet versus human on '808s and Heartbreak'

-- Jeff Weiss