West had been scheduled to take the main stage at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival at 2:45 a.m. Sunday morning. While the sleepy thousands in the audience waited, a message on the jumbotrons told them West’s show would be delayed until 3:15 a.m., and when that didn’t happen, that he would start at 3:30. West didn’t hit the stage until 4:25 a.m.
The delay was caused by problems setting up West’s elaborate stage set, which included an interplanetary landscape of a wavy black platform with a slanted floor in the middle and a video screen above. West performed a spectacular galactic-themed concert complete with interaction with his spaceship, a disembodied female voice named Jane (a kind of sexier HAL).
Ken Weinstein, a spokesman for the annual festival held on a 700-acre site south of Nashville, said the delay was simply a matter of unloading the Pearl Jam stage (the band went an hour past its scheduled end time, playing until about 1:15 a.m.) and loading the West stage.
The festival, which boasted more than 150 acts spread out over four days, was otherwise very punctual. The West delay was all the worse because of its already very late schedule, and many campers lost energy before the concert and returned to their sleeping bags. Midway through his performance, the morning light showed that the crowd had dwindled substantially.
West had originally been slated to perform at 8:15 p.m. Saturday night, but requested a late night performance. At least in the first hour of his performance, West didn’t address the crowd regarding the delay.
I’ve talked to quite a few people today who are pissed at Kanye West after his performance last night. About a week before the festival began he apparently asked Bonnaroo to re-schedule his Saturday evening show for 2:45am Sunday morning so that he would have enough time to put on the fancy light show he’s been touring with lately. Festival staff complied with his wishes and sent out a hasty e-mail about it to everyone attending Bonnaroo.
So at 2:45am last night half the people here were standing in front of the massive What Stage waiting for Kanye to come on. By 3:15, they started getting antsy, and still no Kanye. By 3:45, people were pretty pissed, and still no Kanye. Finally, he rolled out his trillion-dollar show at 4am, without so much as a brief apology for the delay. The show ended after 5am, as the sun was coming up. Needless to say, lots of folks here are pissed off.
Somebody’s got beef. Waiting until 4:30 a.m. to start his set, originally scheduled for 2:45, did not endear Kanye West to his audience or to fellow musicians. Robert Randolph, the gospel slide guitarist, came dangerously close to cussing as he complained about Mr. West, and since he was in the middle of a fierce, bluesy, one-chord raveup, with T-Bone Burnett playing blues licks like snakebites, his putdown arrived with extra force. After his set, the crowd chanted “Kanye sucks!”