Review: Kanye West's Glow in the Dark Tour

So I saw Kanye West, Pharell and N.E.R.D., Rihanna, and Lupe Fiasco Wednesday night in Austin for the Glow in the Dark Tour.

Words can't really describe the quality of what I saw. But I'll try to break it down for you:

The show started promptly at 7:00, which was an unexpected surprise. The crowd at the entire show was not up to par with what I'd expect for $100.00+ tickets ($300.00+ in my case, sadly); mostly there for Rihanna. Which is fine. But poor Lupe was performing an amazing set to an empty stadium.

While he didn't sing "High Definition," my favorite Lupe track, his finale made up for it. His back-up singers were actually quite talented...one in particular could be the next Keyshia Cole.

N.E.R.D. (my mini-highlight of the evening) came on next. Of all I saw during Glow, N.E.R.D.--with Pharell as their clear shining star--stole the show with the relatively small budget they worked with. "She Wants to Move" had me dancing into the aisles, and my brother was jammed inside with a fatty and his schizophrenic sibling gyrating insanely to his right.

A new track, "Spaz," or something like that, was unbelievable. Pharell literally commanded his audience stand up and go crazy with the chorus. Needless to say, I did.

Rihanna then came on, and no amount of costume changes or stage dancers could make up for her obvious lack of hip-hop credibility. N.E.R.D., Lupe, Kanye all have a sense of authenticity, something they've earned over years in the business. Rihanna is still young and impressionable. This was especially clear as she switched albums during the set. "Pon de Replay" (a lowlight, for sure) sounds elementary next to "S.O.S.," which is even more ridiculous after "Don't Stop the Music" came on. She sang well enough, or at least better than I expected; I am a Rihanna fan, mostly because of "Umbrella" and "Breaking Dishes," both of which she performed very well. Even if I won't remember the specifics of her set ten years from now, at least I can say I saw Rihanna live before she went global.

Kanye...I'm not sure what I can say that won't degrade the creativity, energy, and sheer inspiration his set brought to Glow. He actually had a narrative to follow throughout his set: he was crash-landed on a planet with his robot computer Jane as his only accomplice. We followed Kanye through planetary identification ("I Wonder"), reminiscing on "crashes" of the past ("Through the Wire"), exploring the power of shooting stars ("Flashing Lights"), and even his loner-induced horniness ("Goldigger," a highlight). If you weren't a fan before the show started, there's no way on earth (lol, lol) you could not worship the brilliance that is Kanye West by the show's end two hours later.

When he sang "Champion" halfway through the set, I finally bought into all the self-created hype about his fame. He really is, low and behold, a superstar. "Did you realize/that you were a champion in their eyes?/Yes I did."

So do I.

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