Kanye West brings the heat to Toronto

Kanye West on his Yeezus Tour. (WENN.COM)

Kanye West on his Yeezus Tour. (WENN.COM)

Rating

4 Stars4/5

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

Ice storm, schmice storm.

Outspoken rapper Kanye West wasn’t going to let a little thing like one of the worst ice storms in Toronto’s history stop him from presenting the first of two nights of his highly theatrical Yeezus tour at the Air Canada Centre Sunday evening.

Especially after postponing the original two night ACC stand back in mid-November when on the way to a rescheduled Vancouver show, the 36-year-old rapper’s truck carrying crucial pieces of stage equipment, like a 60-foot circular LED screen, was in an accident.

Vancouver and Montreal were subsequently cancelled outright due to routing logistics, which brings us to the final two dates of West’s Yeezus North American tour now wrapping up Sunday and Monday in T.O.

West arrived for his first solo tour in five years in support of his Yeezus album and brought Ziegfeld show-worthy bells and whistles too - a dozen young maidens in white robes and nude body suits, iceberg-like sets (perfect under the circumstances), dramatic lighting, red flares, fireworks and LOTS of jewelled face masks, and even some snow during the song Coldest Winter as West lay on top of one of of the icebergs that rose up at one end on the floor.

Oh, and Jesus too. (More on that later).

West has always been a hip-hop innovator but with this boundary pushing two hour and 10 minute show, he's moved into theatrical leaning performance art territory or maybe even the Las Vegas strip depending on your point of view.

I definitely enjoyed it, especially when firebursts exploded on that massive iceberg during Blood On The Leaves or split in two and the Ziegfeld girls came out of it wearing white robes and carrying candles for Lost In the World.

And when Jesus actually walked - as in a long-haired, bearded actor dressed as Jesus in flowing robes - onto the stage right before West performed Jesus Walks you just had to laugh right?

At least by then West had finally gotten rid of one of a half-dozen masks he wore all night long as he wrapped up the show strongly with Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Flashing Lights, All of the Lights, Good Life, and Bound 2, and thanked homegrown acts Justin Bieber and Drake for taking in the show.

“I’m just going to get crazier, I'm just going to get scarier,” said West during a mid-show rant that went too long.

He may just be right.

Opening was super hot Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, among the first performers announced for the Jan. 26 Grammys, for which he’s in the running for seven awards including best album for his 2012 breakthrough major label debut, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, and best new artist.

Lamar, backed by a four piece band, wasted no time getting to the triangular catwalk as he opened with Money Trees and firmly held the crowd’s attention during his lively 45-minute opening set aided by striking visuals on a three sided video screen along with fireworks, dry ice-induced smoke and songs like Swimming Pools (Drank), Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe, Poetic Justice and Compton.

“Kendrick! Kendrick!” the crowd chanted when the stage went dark - on purpose? - between M.A.D.D. City and Sing About Me.

“That’s love, that’s good,” said Lamar in response.


Videos

Photos