For a very long time — long enough that I feel comfortable with it — I’ve checked out of performers, no matter how major, where I felt fucking with me, the audience, mattered more than the work. This has included the Rolling Stones, Prince and now Kanye West.
PS: Since someone asked elsewhere, I would argue that the Stones were messing with the audience from after Tattoo You until A Bigger Bang (which served justice in the sense that the audience fucked with them back and sorta-kinda ignored one of their better albums ever). Undercover horrified me — it was a lazy, cynical album that sneered “you suckers will buy anything with our name on it.” And as the Stones became major money-grubbers on tour they didn’t do enough to change that atmosphere on their records. Stripped was fab ‘n’ tuff but merely an acoustic set of oldies.
Incidentally, though it’s no big deal, I discourage the practice of inserting my blog comments into a discussion where I cannot participate. Let’s talk about the stuff here.