Just a week after the death of his mother, Donda , Kanye West launched a European tour in Paris on Saturday, but broke down after performing for an hour, according to People.com.
Toward the end of the hour-long show at Le Zenith, as “Hey Mama” began, West attempted to introduce the song, saying, “This song is for my mother … ” but could not continue, the magazine reported.
“He said the word, ’Mother,’ and just couldn’t go any further,” Le Parisien journalist Meddy Magloire told the magazine. “A backup singer, the DJ and a guitar player came over to console him. It looked like he might collapse. He just couldn’t continue. He just stood there in a spotlight, crying, while the band continued playing.” The song, from 2005’s Late Registration, is a dedication to Donda .
After a few moments of stunned silence, Magloire said, the audience offered shouts of encouragement, which grew into applause.
West reportedly restarted the song but was unable to finish. He left the stage, returning after 10-15 minutes to conclude the concert with “Stronger,” the magazine reported.
“He was very nervous, seemed to have gathered himself up, and had a lot of energy,” Magloire told People. “He kept shouting out to the audience, ’I need you … I need you right now.’ and the public was screaming back. It was magic.”
On Sunday night in Brussels, on the second date of the tour, UsMagazine.com reports that midway through performing “Good Life” — during the line “I’mma get on this TV, mama” — West stopped singing and put his hands over his face and went to the rear of the stage, according to an audience member. “He had his back turned to the audience for about 30 seconds,” the fan, identified only as “Juurn,” said. “He was surrounded in smoke, but you could make out his silhouette, and I saw him grab his head and then drop to the floor before getting up.”
West then emerged from the smoke, wiping his eyes under his sunglasses. He kept his back to the audience for the rest of the song and barely sang, looking skyward, the report said, adding that he did the same thing during “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” after the line, “I guess I should’ve forgot where I came from.” At the end of the night, West thanked the crowd for its support.
West canceled a scheduled concert in Amsterdam on Monday (November 19), reportedly to attend Donda’s funeral in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. The tour is scheduled to resume in London on Thursday.
[This story was originally published at 10:51 a.m. ET on 11.18.2007]