Last night I crossed something off my bucket list... I went to a Jay-Z concert! In Brooklyn!
JT and I went to the show, we got a great deal on tickets, but they were way up top. Waaay up top. I didn't care I was happy just to be in the building!
I think Jay-Z is one of the only rappers whose live performances are even better than his studio cuts. Most rappers just don't sound as good live. Not naming any names... but that is why you see them lip syncing on TV.
The ticket said the start time was 8 pm but Jay-Z didn't take the stage until 10 pm and nobody was opening for him. Not going to hold back here, that bothered me. But once he did finally come on stage, he did not disappoint and performed every one of his hits! I thought he would mostly do songs off his newest album but that was not the case at all. I don't know if he usually does the new stuff in other cities but it was obvious he wanted to reminisce a little in his hometown. He would lead into a song off his first album with "remember this?".
The show didn't have a fancy set design, ornate lighting, laser light shows, hip-hop dancers or blinged out costumes. It was obvious Jay-Z was there to do a pure rap performance, and let his his ability to effortlessly deliver flawless rhymes shine. He was fast and perfect and often went a capella as if he wanted to make sure that you knew that he's still got it.
He kept it old school, which I actually found refreshing. It was just him, his band and Timbaland. Yep, Timbaland was there to give Jay-Z a little break in his set.
On the train home I tried to think of a song that he didn't sing that I wished he would have done.... I couldn't think of one. He covered them all!
Jay-Z performed Forever Young for his very last song of the show and paid tribute to Nelson Mandela.
This back-to-basics show, definitely grew on me. I can see where others might be quick to criticize it. Rap & hip hop shows now include so much fluff and filler that we have come to expect the fancy distractions. Critics might think something was missing... but nothing was missed. He sang every hit and hit every beat.
When I was leaving the show, I was on a packed escalator behind two teenage boys. I overheard one excitedly say to the other "That was the greatest thing I have ever been to in my whole life!" His friend nodded at him wide-eyed as if he couldn't believe he just experienced a Jay-Z concert. It made me smile :)
Jay-Z, you still got it, don't worry about the crusty critics.