The Strawberry Criterion: Saint Pablo

The stage floats. Picture a UFO flying low enough to skim fingertips, its underbelly lit with rows of stadium lights. A heat lamp glow that roils the crowd underneath. A thousand overdressed men and women made riotous by the light. All this while the performer on stage, tethered to his platform like a leashed, rabid dog, does everything in his power to test the breaking point of his hitch, as if he wants beyond want to join those below. He performs none of his songs in their entirety, switching rapidly from track to track, singles to b-sides, past to present. He only stops–if stop is even the word–for two brief atonal interludes, half Close Encounters, half 2001. He barely rants at all. During “Black Skinhead,” he stomps the floating stage to the brink of plummet. During “Fade,” he poses in silhouette against a firing line of sniper scope lasers. A single heavenly spotlight is left to illuminate the whole stadium during “Ultralight Beam,” and still it feels like too much for the eyes. He doesn’t sing “Theraflu,” though. And that’s my favorite live Kanye song! The stage lowers.

Final Strawberry Verdict: 4.75 Strawberries out of 5