USHER with KANYE WEST at the Air Canada Centre, October 10. Tickets: $51.50-$104.50. Attendance: 19,800. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
If your dog started going berserk around 8pm on Thanksgiving Sunday, it was probably reacting to the non-stop collective scream of nearly 20,000 halter-topped preteens rising from the Air Canada Centre as Kanye West ran onstage, his famed Jesus-shaped diamond necklace swinging, catching the beat to Get 'Em High.
Flanked by piano-tinkling R&B sidekick John Legend and DJ A-Trak before a luminous backdrop of pixellated video images, the college dropout thundered through all his singles and guest-appearance hooks.
During Slow Jamz, the Louis Vuitton Don sat beside Legend and remixed his own verse with piano accompaniment, flipping the notorious Michael Jackson line to "She said she got a new friend look like Janet Jackson / But when she came over looked more like Freddie Jackson."
While stained-glass windows fired up the screens, Kanye changed into the white preacher's suit he wore for his rendition of Jesus Walks, during which he windmilled wildly across the stage , finishing simply with one palm outstretched as if blessing the still screaming legions.
Not long after, Usher exploded onstage in a ball of fire, wailing Caught Up over the live band as a computer-animated letter U matching his ice blasted on the screens.
This was probably the point when your dog tried to ram its head through your front door.
Oozing sex and perspiration, Usher and his strippers - I mean, dancers - humped everything in sight on their 90-minute romp through You Make Me Wanna, Confessions Pt. 2 (with a guest verse from Kanye) and Yeah. We got smoke machines, elaborately choreographed tangents, Usher tearing apart his wife-beater with an angry sweat-beaded face (twice), costume changes, floating platforms, an electric guitar solo, pyrotechnic explosions and discharges of confetti.
At one point he instructed everyone to "throw your Samsungs in the air," and the stadium looked eerily firefly-infested as celly screens shone from every angle.
Usher's a total-package performer, swathed in a blinding spectacle of skin, raw adult sexuality and crowd-molesting energy. It's no wonder this was his second sold-out Toronto show "to make your booty go clap" in a matter of months.
No doubt there'll be a lot of show-offs in the playground for weeks to come.