When Kanye West released 808s & Heartbreak in 2008, the 12-track opus of raw and often uncomfortable emotion perplexed both listeners and the entire music industry. The album, in a few short years, quickly reinvented the groundwork of not only modern hip-hop, but pop radio at large. To restate something that's now been said a million times before by a vast majority of music journalists, the album was simply ahead of its time, though not so far ahead that its impact isn't noticed until decades after its release. Sadly, the album was only supported by minimal touring, making Kanye's front-to-back performance of the new classic (two nights in a row!) at the Hollywood Bowl something very much worth the hype.
Kanye certainly brought the mastery for the album's inaugural evening at the Bowl, even enlisting 808s alumni Kid Cudi, Mr. Hudson, and Jeezy for the festivities, a feat he is expected to repeat during Saturday's performance. However, some attendees were less than pleased with the stacked performance, citing a prevalence of noticeable technical difficulties:
Though criticizing a performance of a single album, front to back, for being "short" doesn't actually make any sense, the oft-repeated complaint of technical difficulties was apparently something that irked a fair amount of attendees. According to increasingly esteemed literary journal TMZ, Kanye was reportedly late for rehearsal on Thursday, with noise restriction measures in the area ultimately preventing a full-on rehearsal upon his arrival. Kanye even hinted at the botched rehearsal during the performance, as evidenced by the tweets above, calling the show the "best dress rehearsal" he's ever had.
Of course, for those who really preach the brilliance of 808s & Heartbreak as a raw slice of emotional pop, some of these apparent fumblings kind of add to the experience. After all, the album's imperfections are, in a sense, its greatest triumphs. Will Kanye and his team keep things a bit tighter during the second Hollywood Bowl performance? Stay tuned.