Nothing Compares to Kanye

Ask Kanye West who the biggest music legend performing at VMoFest is and he'll probably tell you: Kanye West, of course.

It's that supreme (over)confidence that makes West such a compelling figure and also one of the most exciting performers around. By proclaiming his greatness at every chance possible he knows that people will look for any excuse to knock him down a peg, so he's always on guard, and always comes correct. His festival closing performance tonight was no exception. While many performers treated the festival as a chance to trim their live setup down, that wasn't the case with West. It was easy to get the feeling that West didn't think of this as a festival but rather a Kanye West show that just happened to feature a couple dozen opening bands.

For all the flashing lights, fiery entrance four oversized drums and nine-person backing band there was no question who the only star of the show was. If Kanye's rapping skills aren't necessarily the best in the game he's in a league of his own as an entertainer. He may be a rapper but he's a true rock star. He instructed the fans to clap their hands but it wasn't necessary; they were one step ahead of him. Just like they didn't need any prodding to jump during "Touch the Sky." Once the stage pyro went off the fans were airbound.

West, wearing a blue shirt, jeans, his trademark large white sunglasses, gray hightops and a single gold necklace, worked up a profuse sweat by the second song but never slowed down. He worked the entire crowd but never pandered. He didn't engage in too much small talk, instead inserting "I been through so much drama/I'm voting for Obama" into one of his freestyles.

There were plenty of memorable performances all weekend from big names of yesteryear. But seeing West, a superstar at the peak of his powers, was the highlight.

--DAVID MALITZ

By David Malitz |  August 10, 2008; 10:37 PM ET Virgin Festival
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