Before [lastfm]Kanye West[/lastfm] appeared on the October 2 episode of “Saturday Night Live”, the outspoken MC tweeted “25 Minutes to dress rehearsal … Just saw [executive producer] Lorne Michaels … uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum …. Akwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard LOL!”
Awkward indeed, especially considering the superstar MC’s single “Power” unfavorably name-checks the sketch comedy show with the line “F— ‘SNL’ and the whole cast. Tell ’em Yeezy said they can kiss my whole ass.” Even though ‘Ye seemed a little heated at the “SNL” crew, which took a few jabs at the [lastfm]Taylor Swift[/lastfm] 2009 VMA business, that didn’t stop ‘Ye from not only performing the song but transforming the signature “SNL” stage setup as well.
On Saturday’s live broadcast– hosted by Emmy-winning “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston with guest spots for Morgan Freeman and Ernest Borgnine– West kicked off his appearance with “Power.” Instead of rocking from the show’s famed Grand Central Terminal-themed set, ‘Ye began the song atop a set of stairs with a completely white backdrop. Pale sheer sheets covered scores of clapping dancers as Yeezy spit the opening bars in a fire-engine red suit, with several gold chains swinging from his neck and a headpiece of gilded laurel resting on his dome. The sheets were pulled off the dancers as the first chorus dropped to reveal women of several hues grooving in white leotards in a live recreation of the “moving painting” visual that accompanies the track.
At the beginning of the second verse, West and his company of dancers dropped to the ground as he rattled off revamped lyrics including, “I’m killin’ this, I know damn well y’all feelin’ this.” Near the close of the performance, ‘Ye ascended the stairs and the dancers stood perfectly still until the MC bounded down the steps once again, fell to his knees and yelped “Now this will be a beautiful death!” Then taking another cue from the video, West returned to the steps, donned the laurel once again, gazed out unto the crowd and hung his head as two dancers on either side struck Grecian-inspired poses on white pedestals.
For Yeezy’s second performance, the Chicago MC revisited the theme and tone of his 2010 VMA performance, once again launching into the track-opening notes of “Runaway” by tapping an MPC resting on a pedestal. However, instead of three ballet dancers, over a dozen women sporting tutus held classic ballet poses in the shadows until Yeezy rocked the first few lines. After hitting several more poses in-sync with the midtempo rhythm, the ladies ambled off the set and then ‘Ye worked the stage solo, emphatically saluting “douche bags” and “scumbags.” When ‘Ye retreated to the MPC once again, another dancer popped up for a graceful arabesque that heralded [lastfm]Pusha T[/lastfm]’s appearance, who ripped the stage in a white button-down shirt and blazer. The dancers joined West once again to close the performance as he dropped the remaining bars, his vocals twisted by his favored Auto-Tune effect. He wrapped up the performance with a simple bow but when the cast returned for the farewell at the end of the show, ‘Ye signed off for the night once again rocking his gilded crown.