Our 2008 Bonnaroo correspondent EJ Friedman sends along a note on Kanye West’s set, which was hastily rescheduled to 2:45 a.m. Saturday/Sunday and didn’t get going until the break of dawn: Nothing wrong with Kanye West’s ego being the size of Jupiter, but his “glow-in-the-dark spectacular” was short on spectacle, long on wait, and not at all what was promised. Was it because Pearl Jam ran late? Was it because of a disagreement over the safety of some portion of his set? Was it because Kanye’s over-inflated sense of self has crashed headlong into his limitations as a human being?
After all the build-up and hype, including the shifting of his set from 8:15 p.m. Saturday to 2:45 a.m. Sunday so that festivalgoers could behold “the full experience,” Kanye didn’t simply not deliver–he insulted the people who waited for him until 4:25 a.m. by failing to even address them in any way. No “Hello, Bonnaroo,” no “I’m sorry for the delay,” nothing besides a few pyrotechnics, some grandiose CGI, and boorish interactions with his spaceship’s computer. Named Jane, the HAL 9000ish foil to Kanye’s presumptive David Bowman, the communication between Kanye and computer proved to be nothing more than a great reason for him to ignore the crowd. He seemed oblivious to his surroundings, choosing to focus on his own machinations while the sleepless masses stared on in pseudo-disbelief.
I’ll be curious to see what Kanye has to say about this in his blog; but for now, the “glow-in-the-dark” set was more like “glow-in-the-dawn,” as thousands watched the sun come up while wondering what got Kanye so discombobulated that he managed to forget the feelings of the very people he convinced to wait on him.
[Photo: File, since Kanye's no-picture policy was still in effect. Well, officially, anyway.]