Kanye West's bold Broadway-ready musical at Barclays Center

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Kanye West performs on his Yeezus tour, which Kanye West performs on his Yeezus tour, which stopped by Barclays Center. (Nov. 19, 2013) Photo Credit: Christopher Polk

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REVIEW

Kanye West is nothing if not bold.

His "Yeezus" tour, which began a four-show area stand at Barclays Center Tuesday night that ends at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, is a wildly ambitious extravaganza that has no middle ground.

It's less a concert than a tightly scripted, high-production-value five-act Broadway-ready musical built around the themes of Fighting, Rising, Falling, Searching and Finding.

The story arc follows West's life, with the turning points being the untimely death of his mother and his well-publicized relationship with Kim Kardashian.

Of course, it's not that straightforward and the first two-thirds are tough to get through, between the rage of the "Yeezus" songs "On Sight" and "New Slaves," and the pain of "Heartless" and "Coldest Winter."

Even the imagery was stark, with West wearing masks and scaling a 'Ye-made mountain. The dozen female dancers lift West over their heads during "I Am a God."

It's a mix of a decidedly widescreen vision and an intensely personal one -- much like the video for "Bound 2" that West released Tuesday, featuring cinematic environmental shots and the more attention-grabbing topless shots of Kardashian.

But it turns around during the emotional "Runaway," especially after West goes on a rant, often with his voice cracking, as he talks of "creative investors who weren't recognized in their time."

West clearly puts himself in that company, and after his "Yeezus" tour, his argument is so much stronger.

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