Yeezy doesn’t muster measly ‘Shalom’ during Tel Aviv gig

Rapper Kanye West does little to connect with crowd of 20,000 as sound problems plague debut Israel show

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

American rapper Kanye West performs at the Ramat Gan Stadium, near Tel Aviv, on September 30, 2015. (Flash90)
American rapper Kanye West performs at the Ramat Gan Stadium, near Tel Aviv, on September 30, 2015. (Flash90)

US rap star Kanye West played a one-off show in Israel on Wednesday night which left many in the crowd happy but had critics grumbling, and during which he had to contend with an unreliable sound system that failed during some songs.

West, who arrived in the country only hours before the show was set to start at the Ramat Gan Stadium, near Tel Aviv, was half an hour late in taking to the stage.

To the backing sound of a DJ and with a lighting system that kept him in the spotlight to the exclusion of anything else, West belted out a selection of his hits.

While the mostly below-24 crowd were delighted that the rapper, songwriter, producer, fashion designer and future presidential candidate was live on stage in Israel, local Hebrew-media reports called out West for barely making an effort to connect with the audience of some 20,000 fans.

In what has become a tradition for visiting performers, artists have become accustomed to greeting fans at Tel Aviv performances with a hearty “Good evening, Tel Aviv” or even just a simple “Shalom.” But West hardly talked to the crowd, relying instead on his one-man show to warm fans during the performance that lasted an hour and 20 minutes.

West, also known for his marriage to the Reality TV-celebrity Kim Kardashian, was last here in June, at the tail end of a roots trip through Armenia with Kardashian, whose family is American-Armenian.

He offered an impromptu concert during his stop in Jerusalem, but canceled when a long day of touring tired him out.

A few weeks later, local concert promoters announced his September 30 concert in Ramat Gan.

Jessica Steinberg contributed to this report.

Most Popular
read more: