The throne was on display at New Jersey’s IZOD Center, as Kanye West made Jesus walk and Jay-Z ran the town.
Before about 15,000 fans, the rappers performed hits from their countless No. 1 albums, including their most recent collaborative effort, Watch The Throne.
Decked out in special-edition Watch The Throne
T-shirts, running at $40 to $45 a pop, fans endured a two hour wait. By the time the show started, there wasn’t a n empty seat in sight in the arena.
The pre-concert music matched the lauding of black America on the actual album, as the playlist consisted of the original songs that Kanye, Jay and other artists have sampled through the years like “There’s Nothing in This World That Can Stop Me From Loving You” use in Jay’s “Girls, Girls, Girls.”
When that music stopped, H.A.M. started off, as the two rose from beneath the arena floor on opposite sides and performed their respective verses. West was dressed in black pants, a skirt and a black shirt with the
monster picture of his face featured in the album
booklet. He stood out, compared to conservative Jay-Z, who wore loose black jeans, a Yankees cap and a black shirt with a picture of a crucified Christ.
The duo quickly got into what would be one of the best performances of the night. “Try a Little Tenderness” came on as the soulful spirit of Otis Redding graced the arena for about a minute, flowing right into “It makes
it Easier.” The crowd went ballistic when the duo’s
version of the American Flag dropped in the background as the two artists rose up and appeared on the
Jay-Z moved about the stage as if he was 15 years younger, and the two ran, dance, rapped and dapped each other up all across the stage while singing the celebratory lyrics of “Otis.” The crowd joined in singing every single word. As the duo switched from performing their own solo hits, to all the songs on the album, it was clear that the concert’s simplicity resulted in its greatness. There were no over-the-top props or Lady Gaga-like additions, instead two of the greatest rappers of this
generation ruling the same stage at the same time.
At times, Jay-Z went A capella, to the crowd’s roaring approval, finishing verses to songs like “Jigga What, Jigga Who,” “Public Service Announcment” and even paying homage to the late Pimp C., doing his verse on
West became emotional, to no one’s surprise, as Mike Dean enchanted the arena on the keyboard and West
auto-tuned all the way through “Runaway,” adding new,
soft lyrics reminding concert goers to keep their loved
They performed 38 songs, including the entire Watch The Throne album and “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’,” “Stronger,” “Flashing Lights,”
“Diamonds of Sierra Leone (Remix,)” “Power,” “Hard Knock Life,” “U Don’t Know,” “H to the Izzo,”
“On to the Next One,” “Gold Digger” and
The two MC’s closed it out by performing “N****s In Paris” twice and exiting the stage after the second time. The crowd cheered louder and louder for them to come back, to which Jay-Z responded with “We ain’t got nowhere else to be so I guess we’ll keep it going.” Following that, they came back out and performed the hit a third time. With the crowd getting louder and louder and enjoying it more and more each time, Hov closed out the two-and-a-half hour non-stop set with the Black Album’s hit, “Encore.”
The energy provided by both artists traveled through the venue and was consistent throughout the entire show. The Watch the Throne Tour is a testament to this pair’s love for what they’re doing and the professionalism with which they do it. The celebration of black excellence was in full display throughout the night, and as the tour moves on, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s music remain in the hearts, minds and iPods of everyone that it, and they, touch leaving them at the top of the game, and an undefeatable reign as hip-hop royalty.