@ZackTeibloom Jay-Z took over. He was the A1 perfect headliner we knew he’d be. Every part of the set was perfectly orchestrated. Jay came up on a rising platform for “Run This Town” and he did.
The most impressive thing bout HOV is how he didn’t waste a second. He played everything. No songs stalled. If all it took was a verse or two and a hook to get the point across, that’s all he’d play. You forget how many hits he has. He played ’em all. Old stuff too. Only if we’d sing along.
HIs LED building backdrop was phenomenal. The insanely uber high-res screens transformed constantly and each design was inspired. The buildings displayed live video of Jay-Z on stage, the NYC skyline, glowing iTunes visualizer-esque orbs, helicopter shots of New York, Marshall speakers that looked like they were pumping the music, and some pre-made videos. Astounding.
Jigga worked us and we were happy to do it. He made us throw up the diamond. And bounce it. And bounce with him. Made us wave hats and shirts in the air before we were ready for “Big Pimpin.'” Made us yell “HOV” and the left side sang “Jigga What” and the right side sang “Jigga Who.” Jigga everything.
The PA played the presidential song and a clip of Obama saying you need to (makes a dirt off shoulder motion) while smiling. Jigga laughed and got that dirt off our shoulders. The building of lights showed glowing recording equipment for “Death of Auto-Tune.”
He never slowed down. We all sang along to “Wonderwall” as Jay was a cheerleader. Why? It doesn’t matter, it worked. You wouldn’t believe how well U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday’ mashes up with “Heart of the City.” He welcomed Bridget Kelly as a Alicia Keys substitute for “Empire State of Mind” and she didn’t make me miss Alicia much.
His real treat of a guest was his wife. Beyonce is elegant live and she and her man couldn’t go together any better. She soared on “Forever Young” as Jay took off his shades for the first time. I would have too. She’s a lot to look at. His voice sounded pained at the end, but he powered through. I thought he was just doing banter for the “let me clear my throat” line. He had just given us his all.
The banter was there to keep the set going. A little bravado. A little gratitude. Charming all the way through. Efficient. And so personable. He pointed out 40+ members of the audience just to make us feel special: “Yo, Yankees hat. Hey yellow tank top! I see you, Shorty. Blueprint shirt I got love for ya. What’s that sign say? 5th time seeing Jay-Z. shout-out? OK girl. You got your shout out.” As we walked out “yellow tank top girl” was giddy that HOV gave her love. We all were. Beyonce’s a lucky lady.
The winner is HOV.
He started with “Run This Town,” moved onto “U Don’t Know” and ended with the “Forever Young” duo with Beyonce w/ fireworks going into “Encore.” (Not in this exact order, some songs missing)
“Run This Town”
“U Dont Know”
“H to the Izzo” w/ “I Want You Back”
“Death of Auto-tune”
“Can I Get a…”
“Heart of the City w/ Sunday Bloody Sunday”
“Dirt off Your Shoulders” w/ Obama intro
“Show Me What You Got”
“Empire State of Mind”