After traveling the world with Jay-Z and getting the people going with encore after encore of "Ni-as in Paris," Kanye West returned to the stage as a solo artist Friday night, performing the first of two sold-out shows at Atlantic City's Revel Hotel and Casino. Those who believe steep ticket prices are only worth it when there's a double-bill the likes of a tour like Watch the Throne can provide obviously don't know West's secret: "I make perfect music," he told the crowd halfway through his set. "This is the best you’ll ever get it!" As a headliner, Yeezy is allowed moments of pause to wax on his career, and as fans, we welcome these opportunities for personal reflection—no matter how outrageous they may be. Ahem, allow him to continue:
I’m not saying that in an arrogant way, I’m saying that in a factual way... but as a human being I’m flawed. I thank you for bearing with the audacity. This evening I thank you so much for listening to this good ass music.
Good ass music, or G.O.O.D. ass music? Days after opening the BET Awards with a car even Justin Bieber would covet, Yeezy performed his crew's single "Mercy," all by himself—Pusha T joined him for "Runaway"—before giving the crowd another glimpse of "New God Flow." Fellow 2012 single "Way Too Cold" also got the live treatment, with no cheesy acknowledgment of girlfriend Kim Kardashian—again!—during verse two's love triangle reveal. So much for anniversary presents.
Along with clarifying that this show should exist as anything but a forgettable experience, Yeezy took time to instruct his audience on just how to properly enjoy themselves, including encouraging all fans in attendance to recite the n-word during "All of the Lights" ("This is the one chance y'all get to sing it"). Other highlights include his surprising cover of "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins, which came through during the chorus of "Monster." The vocals aren't so bad, but his air-drumming needs some work.
Between two sold-out shows, Cruel Summer's release next month and reports of another solo record in the works, Jay has to have invited him to play Made in America, right? That festival will be hard to enjoy without the presence of perfection.