Kanye West Doesn't Need Five Mics At Guest-Packed NYC Show

Rapper/producer delivers stadium-sized performance to 400 fans.

NEW YORK — Kanye West brought his School Spirit

Tour to Pace University's tiny Schimmel Center for the Arts on Thursday

night and performed with the dynamism of a stadium headliner.

Even though he's exceeded the platinum plateau and has hits on the

radio and television, West is still not satisfied. He feels his debut,

College Dropout, should have been permanently marked with a

magazine's classic certification, namely The Source's five-mic

rating, when it was reviewed earlier this year. West has it all wrong,

though. If you ask the people who have been packing his shows the past

couple of months, they'll tell you College Dropout is a classic

— one of those rare albums that can be appreciated live, and any

of its songs will move you no matter where they're played in the set.

 

Click for photos from the show


As always, West used up-and-coming singer John Legend — look out

for him, you'll be talking about him before you know it — to act

as a point man and warm the Pace University crowd up. Sitting at the

piano, Legend played the keys and sang an original tune called "Used to

Love You." "I'm good, I really am," Legend said. "May-be, I should rob

somebody," he sang. "So we can live like Whitney and Bob-beeee!"

After Legend's selection, the instrumental for Jay-Z's "Takeover"

consumed the theater and fans started throwing up the Roc-A-Fella

Dynasty sign. West came out in a green polo shirt and blue blazer and

did some grandstanding — he was applauded loudly simply for

walking to the front of the stage and posing.

The rapping producer started his set with "Get Em High" and "Two

Words." "Yo, two words, Chi-town, South Side, worldwide, 'cause I rep,

'til I f---in' die," he rapped on the latter cut, keeping most of the

crowd bouncing.

The Schimmel Center, which held only 400 fans, made for a setting

so intimate that Kanye could touch people in the audience if he walked

a runway that was connected to the stage, and he could certainly see

the entire crowd from anywhere he was standing. He took exception after

peeping a crew of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority members in the front row

who had the audacity to sit down while he was ripping. He half-jokingly

asked security to replace them with the people in the balcony who were

on their feet if the women did not do likewise.

He did not have to wait long. Violinist Miri Ben-Ari came out and

started playing her part on "The New Workout Plan." That record, a

favorite especially with females, made the lethargic spectators rise to

their feet and join everyone else in the festivities. Ben-Ari continued

to show her grace with the strings as she performed a medley of cuts

such as Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks," Jay-Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder,"

Jadakiss' "We Gon' Make It" and Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin'

Somethin'."

West then took the floor again, telling everyone he was going to play a

song and if they didn’t like it, "Don't say sh--." The fans were very

vocal, however, after they heard a few notes of "All Falls Down."

Syleena Johnson came onstage to help with the chorus while everyone

sang along: "I'm telling you all, it all faaalls dow-owww-owwwn."

The Pace students kept their vocal cords pulsating during "Slow Jamz"

— so much so, Kanye threw the mic cord over his shoulder and let

his followers do the work for him. "I'mma bring the Cool Whip, then I

want you to strip/ See you is my new chick, so we get our grind on,"

they yelled. West came back in and gave an extra verse that's not

featured on the album: "Said she had friend looking like Janet Jackson/

Came over, she was looking like Freddie Jackson," he rapped.

Later West brought out GLC and Consequence for "Spaceships," and all

three did a synchronized dance involving a move similar to the A-Town

Stomp that included spinning. The most personal cameo, at least for the

Pace students, came via "School Spirit." He brought up all those girls

who were acting too cute to stand up earlier in the show to perform

their sorority's line-dance. "AKAs step, AKAs step, AKAs step."

The energy level stayed high as the tempo was turned up on "Jesus

Walks." West introduced a new dance of the same name that looked like

cross between a drunkard stumbling out of a club and the Elvis Presley

shuffle dance that the King used to do. At the beginning of "Last

Call," fans started singing the "La, la, la, la" intro too fast and

West had to tell them to take it easy. "Slow down, y'all," he said,

laughing. "Y'all going 'Lalalalalalalala!' "

In between raps, while John Legend played at the keys, West mixed music

and message like some tenured singers do. "People come up to me and

say, 'You got robbed,' " West told the crowd. " 'You should have got

five mics.' I tell them, 'Yeah.' "

Well, Kan, all you really need is one mic — the one that allows

the fans to hear you.

For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out

MTV News Tour Reports.