#1. Kanye West at FYF in Los Angeles, CA
Despite his overwhelming commercial and critical success, Kanye West stands alone as this generation’s most divisive artist. He is a brooding, egomaniacal lunatic equally equipped to bludgeon a live audience with petulant rants as he is to unite thousands of voices in a communal experience of musical bliss. In his new hometown of Los Angeles, West performed as a last minute stand in for Frank Ocean at FYF and unfettered by months of hype or speculation his performance was irresistibly fun. For a man who meticulously plans and occasionally overplays high profile public appearances, Kanye West, for the first time in years, seemed content to just have fun performing his songs for an adoring audience.
I might be crazy to compare our beloved fallen starman David Bowie to Kanye West but the analogue fits well by my reckoning. Their widespread commercial and critical adoration, their penchant for stylistic transformation, their interest in a wide range of creative pursuits (film, fashion, etc.) – it all compounds to prove that Kanye West might just be The Chosen One he has been claiming to be his entire career.
I want him to be right. I want to have been a witness to something rare. Every generation needs an irreplaceable, incomparable talent – a Bowie. While for many it’s undoubtedly sacrilege to make such a bold comparison, we decide who to elevate into the cultural pantheon and I’m voting for Yeezy.
I’ve seen him perform live six times in ten years but there was something special about this one and it wasn’t just the adorably peer-pressured guest appearance from Rihanna. The whole spectacle was a reminder of what Kanye is capable of when at his best. In 2015, I saw Kanye West, our generation’s iconic and singularly megalomaniacal genius, perform in Los Angeles with fearless joy, vulnerability and passion and it was one hell of a show.
Read my extended recap of FYF including Kanye West’s grand headlining set here.