NEW YORK – Kanye West defended himself from criticism over his delayed performance at Bonnaroo, saying on his blog that the flak he's taken has left him "the most offended I've ever been."
West's performance at the Tennessee festival was scheduled for 2:45 a.m. in the early morning of June 15. West didn't take the stage until 4:25 a.m., angering much of the crowd who had stayed up late to see the rapper perform.
The delay was caused by problems setting up West's elaborate stage set, which included an interplanetary landscape of a wavy black platform and a video screen above. Pearl Jam, who had performed on the main stage earlier that evening, also went an hour over its scheduled time. While waiting for West's concert to begin, many in the crowd pelted the stage with glow sticks and beer.
At the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, which traditionally has favored jam bands, West's delayed show became a kind of rallying point, leading to "Kanye sucks" chants and criticism from pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph, who played later the same day.
Writing Tuesday on his blog at www.kanyeuniversity.com in almost all caps, West said he was offended that anyone would think he doesn't care about his fans and blamed the delay on festival organizers.
"This Bonnaroo thing is the worst insult I've ever had in my life," West wrote. "This is the most offended I've ever been ... this is the maddest I ever will be."
West was critical of the festival for not releasing a statement in his defense. The morning after the show, The Associated Press asked festival spokesman Ken Weinstein about the delay. Weinstein said it was simply a matter of unloading the Pearl Jam stage after its set (which went until about 1:15 a.m.) and loading the West stage.
Following his performance, West's publicist didn't reply to a request from The AP for West's take on the criticism.
In his blog posting, West said he and the festival organizers (Bonnaroo is put on by Superfly Productions and AC Entertainment) went back and forth for a month on how his stage could fit at the festival. He said it was clear he was "dealing with ... idiots who didn't really have the capacity to really put on this show properly."
Weinstein on Wednesday relayed a statement on behalf of the festival that did not specifically address West's complaints but read: "Our world-class event production team strives to accommodate the needs of every performer."
West also blamed thrown bottles for malfunctions with his "Jane screen." (In the concept concert, Jane is the HAL-like disembodied female robotic voice of his spaceship.) But the stage crew appeared to be having difficulty with the screen well before anything was thrown from the crowd.
West's set was originally scheduled for 8:15 p.m. the night of June 14, but the rapper requested it be moved later in the evening so it was sufficiently dark for his "glow-in-the-dark" performance. But because of the late start, midway through his performance the morning light began to show — revealing a substantially thinned-out audience.
"It broke my heart that I couldn't give these fans `Stronger' in its greatest form," said West, referring to his hit song. "I'm sorry to everyone that I didn't have the ability 2 give the performance I wanted to. I'm sorry."
West concluded by saying his elaborate stage cuts his payday in half and leaves him icing his knees.
"Call me what you want," he said, "but never say I didn't give my all!"