Rapper restyles concert

Whether he’s espousing his political beliefs on live television or tapping indie producers for his multi-platinum sophomore effort, Late Registration,” Kanye West is shaking up the hip-hop world. Now he’s shaking up the concert circuit as well.Rap concerts are usually a secondary concern for many artists, known for short sets and poor sound. For his “Touch the Sky” tour, West is trying to revamp the model.

To start, West is using live instruments on stage to complement the traditional two turntables and a microphone formula. Cellos, violins and a live percussionist all grace the stage.

West is also playing longer sets. His two-hour stand in his hometown Chicago prompted Chicago Sun-Times music critic Jim Derogatis to say, “West’s two-hour concert set a new standard for imaginative staging and visuals, challenging musical arrangements and tireless energy on the part of the star.”

West is no stranger to both praise and criticism. At the same time his most recent record “Late Registration” was climbing the charts, West drew fire for anti-Bush comments he made during a live telecast for Hurricane Katrina relief.

West also reached out to the independent music scene, expressing admiration for Scot-rockers Franz Ferdinand and calling on Fiona Apple producer Jon Brion to produce “Late Registration.”

West will play on Nov. 26, at the Nokia Theatre at Grand Prairie.