Vanderbilt University-Nashville, TN.
OMG, THIS SHOW WAS AMAZING.
But first, let me give credence to the opening act. Even if you hadn’t heard of him before, Roc Nation-managed artist, Wale, made you love him by the end of his set. Extremely personable, energetic and fervent, Wale stood out on his own and got my attention to the point where I will gladly go to one of his shows once he starts headlining. Ok, now for Jay-Z.
This is the second time I’ve seen Jay-Z live, and this show was even better than the last. As I learned at the 1st Jay concert I went to, he really knows how to make you hungry for his appearance. He likes to tease you. After Wale finished his set and the crew was done setting up, the lights dimmed and music blasted. People lost their minds instantaneously. Was he finally coming out? Nope. The lights came back on, and the jumbo screen displayed a clock counting down 10 minutes. Sike. You heard this giant “Aw” from the audience LOL. But at least we knew that in 10 minutes, he would actually arrive.
When the clock got to 00:00, the stadium went red, the roc signs were thrown up and people were chanting “HOVA” to the top of their lungs as the curtains pulled back showing the “Blueprint 3” album symbol and the King of Hip-Hop rose slowly from the floor to Rihanna’s opening bars of “Run this Town.” By the time he ran down the stairs to the front of the stage to rap his 1st verse, the crowd was already in high-gear spitting every word with him verbatim.
From that point on, the energy was never lost as he went on to perform for a little over two hours, covering most fan favorites and hits from half of his discography. With 14 albums, it can difficult for an artist like Jay-Z to leave no stone uncovered, but Jay did a magnificent job of hitting all the crucial points. More than half of the “Blueprint 3” was performed, some songs being only a verse, but that did not leave you unsatisfied. As a performer, Jay is elite, professional, focused and dedicated. He brings a certain class that sometimes isn’t seen at hip-hop shows. He takes everything he does seriously and you can see his love the art.
One thing I love to see at shows is interaction with the fans. Jay did plenty of this, taking time in the show to browse the floor and point out particular fans; even mentioning and emphasizing how many good looking women were in the house. Oh, jay. You flirt. Don’t have Bee tryna cut you LOL jk. He also expressed gratitude for fan support, stating that it’s a rare thing for a hip-hop artist to achieve what he has and break major records (like surpassing Elvis Presley for 2nd place on the most #1 albums list). Speaking of the fans, the most remarkable and fascinating aspect of a Jay-Z show is the energy. The fans are hardcore and unbelievably passionate; Jay himself made it clear at times that he was overwhelmed by what was being shown to him. This may not seem unique, but it is. At most concerts, you get an evenly mixed demographic of fans that include everyone from the newbies, to the luke-warm fans, to the flimsy, to the hardcore, and the people who are just there because a real fan made them come. Not the case at a Jay show.
80% are hardcore and serious- they know all the words, they’ve bought every album and magazine, attended every tour and could probably write Jay’s biography. The other 20% are made out of newbies who are on their way to being hardcore. The fans’ admiration and love for Jay is warming, and you can tell that it’s not just about Jay; these people are fiends for art of hip-hop. When you’re there in the mist of this unique adrenaline, you feel like you’re in a meeting for an exclusive club and you want to understand and know everything they do. You want to be a part of the energy and feel the same force. If you’re not a hardcore fan, you want to be. You feel like you’re missing out if you don’t become a member.
One of the things that cracked me up was the male fans. They seemed like excited little school girls watching Jay perform. The amount of guy love flowing from them was hilarious. Another funny thing was how hard these southern kids were singing “Empire State of Mind.” You would’ve thought you were in New York. Southern people are proud to be southern, so it cracked me up to see them go so hard for New York. Jay has such a way of pulling you into whatever he’s doing.
Another thing I love to see at shows (particularly hip-hop ones) is a jamming live band. Jay’s band never failed to rock hard. They really brought his music to life. The set design was impressive, balanced and highly functional. It wasn’t too simple, nor too elaborate. The graphics did all the work. Shown from one multi –panel screen, the graphics were relevant, creative, attractive and fitting for the show. All in all, definitely catch Jay on his next tour and check out Wale.