Kanye West, Pitbull and Serena Ryder send the Games off in style,
Rapper rips up the stage with a stripped-down set at Pan Am closing ceremony
Yeezy does it and, boy, did he ever do it proper during the 2015 Pan Am Games closing ceremony.
And the fact that Kanye West, perhaps the most polarizing figure in popular music today, closed the Pan Am Games without a net was an impressive feat that will undoubtedly find fewer detractors arguing against his self-proclamation of being “the greatest living rock star on the planet.”
Certainly one never knows what to expect when the controversial rapper hits the stage.
But what they probably weren’t expecting was the star simply dressed in a blue shirt, white necklace and blue jeans, appearing under a giant spotlight against a stark background as he launched into “Stronger.”
For the rest of his seven-song medley — he has won 21 Grammy Awards — West performed with no effects to support him other than backing tapes for his rap.
The lights were on, the video screens were off, and West slayed them with just his physical performance — overtly dramatic, exaggerated gestures that saw him lie on his back, wave his arms wildly and watch the crowd of 30,000 melt in his hands like putty as they sang along to his hits “Power,” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and “Touch The Sky.”
Wisely not saying anything even remotely offensive or focusing on anything but pleasing the crowd, West only had a problem when his sound mysteriously cut out about halfway through “Good Life,” leaving the crowd a little puzzled as he left the stage and the final fireworks of the evening occurred.
The rest of the major concert portion of the three-hour ceremony was fun and light, as one might predict with pop-rapper Pitbull in the house.
Mr. Worldwide, attired from head to toe in white, with four comely female dancers and a DJ on the side, opened things up with “Fireball” and did what he does best — rally the crowd to party, party, party in his trademark Miami style.
Prior to his three-song set, Serena Ry- der, the powerhouse, Juno award-winning vocalist from Millbrook, Ont., rose to the occasion, starting out with the exuberant “Stompa,” delivering a decent run of “It’s No Mistake” with her six-piece band and getting the crowd to follow a fun series of gestures for her new song “Circle Of The Sun.”
Ryder also provided the Pan-Am Games with its memorable anthem, “Together We Are One,” which she performed at the beginning of the night, although it was difficult to see her without the benefit of the gigantic screen used for most of the show.
But it’s an attitude that was adopted by all three headliners: Ryder, Pitbull and West — short, sweet and full of good sportsmanship and good vibrations.