While Erykah Badu was Twittering about an alleged stalker incident outside her home in Dallas, the line for her free 7pm concert with her new band, the Cannabinoids, at the Auditorium Shores Stage, stretched halfway down the bridge across Lady Bird Lake last night. I asked a few Texas teenagers who were standing on line in front and back of me if they read her Twitter posts about why she was running late for the show, which sounded like it started without her, but none of them knew anything about it. Since it was obviously going to be a while before they got inside the venue, they seemed more relieved that they weren’t missing her performance than concerned about what happened to the singer.
With the line for Erykah’s show still moving as slow as molasses at 7:45pm, I left and headed over to Kanye West’s GOOD Music showcase at the Levi’s Fader Fort only to find myself at the tail end of another massive line. (The organizers reportedly distributed 17,000 wristbands for the event!) I was still waiting to get in when I heard Kanye take the stage around 9:06pm. He opened with “Amazing” from 808s & Heartbreak before introducing rapper Consequence, who played a brief solo set. I finally got in some time around then and immediately ran into Dead Prez and Bazaar Royale, who were hanging out before their midnight show at the Austin Music Hall.
Though everyone kept calling it “the Kanye show,” it really wasn’t. Instead of hogging the spotlight for himself, the self-proclaimed Louis Vuitton Don held court as the master of ceremonies while proudly introducing various up-and-coming artists on his label, including Big Shaun, Mr. Hudson, GLC, Fonzworth Bentley, and Kid Cudi, who recently inked a deal with Universal Motown. Between their sets, Kanye kept the audience hyped by performing a handful of crowd-pleasing favorites like “We Major,” “Crack Music,” and “Stay Up (Viagra),” a duet with 88 Keys. But the biggest surprise of the night was a reported guest appearance by none other than Erykah Badu, which, sadly, I missed because I left shortly before she performed with Kanye when I was offered a ride on the Dead Prez tour bus. I thought it was headed straight to their show, but it ended up taking a detour to their hotel. So that’s when I hopped out, hailed a cab, and called it a night.
Check out a clip of Kanye, Common, and Erykah Badu performaning at SXSW below.