To close out my year long whirlwind concert tour, I attended the year’s most anticipated acts on stage….JAY-Z and Kanye West. Watch the Throne was one of the biggest albums this summer and tickets sold out in minutes for both shows at the Izod Center in New Jersey. Most New Yorkers who were upset they couldn’t get the Madison Square Garden experience shelled out the dough and drove or took the NJ Transit to the arena.
I pursued the tickets the day it went on presale (my birthday) and sat at my computer for over an hour on the Ticketmaster website. I refreshed the page over and over as it read “Tickets are not available.” I rebuked that was the final answer until finally, I got through. I didn’t like the seat they offered so I threw it back. I felt like I was playing craps at a Yonkers casino. I refreshed the page three more times and there it was. I was in the first row of the first level above floor seats. I bought two in that section and three in an upper section to resell to the highest bidder. Unfortunately some friends of mine got word of my purchase and I couldn’t swindle them. That much.
After my grand purchase in August, I almost forgot I even had tickets until late October when the announcement was made that Daddy Jay and Uncle Yeezy (that’s what Jay-Z’s kid will be calling him) were adding two shows at the Garden to their tour. I was kinda tight. I’ve always wanted to attend a sold out Jigga show in the Garden. Guess I’ll have to wait in vain for the Reasonable Doubt’s 20th Anniversay Show in five years.
The show lasted an explosive two hours…and I do mean explosive. They opened the show with “H.A.M.” There was so much pyrotechnics, barking dogs on the jumbotron and fire on stage my eyebrows got singed a little. I liked how they performed tracks from the Watch the Throne album together then have solo performances of their greatest hits. I didn’t realize I knew so much Jay-Z lyrics…then again I been playing him since I had a Discman and played “Big Pimpin'” until I scratched the CD to the point of no repair. Jay had the whole crowd rapping along: men, women, black, white, Puerto-Rican and Asian to classic hits like “Hard Knock Life,” “Ni**a What, Ni**a Who” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder.” The two rap kings even had a little scripted skit to segue way into Kanye’s “Gold Digger.” Jay-Z’s rebuttal to Ye’s women issues were his “99 Problems” and a gold digger ain’t one of them.
Now, I’ve always admired Ye and his bold fashion forward style and but leather jeggings and a kilt and a Givenchy coat covered with drooling, hungry rottweilers was…Kanye West. He had everyone mesmerized. I saw him for his Glow in the Dark tour in 2008, so I knew he brings IT to the stage. The 808’s were turned on high as he took us back to his dark place of relationship hell and did an extended rendition of “Heartless” and we went back to college as he played hits like “Jesus Walks,” “Touch the Sky” and “Flashing Lights.”
Despite the talks of bickering between the super egos over the past months, they showed good sportsmanship on the stage and fed off each other’s energy. The jumbo screen barely showed them on stage, instead displayed video and images that were synonymous with song titles. From gazelles being chased by lions (“No Church In The Wild”) to Ku Klux Klansmen chanting and civil rights leaders marching for peace (“Made It In America”). You can’t expect much like back up singers and choreography from two rappers, so it visually was a decent show. The one disappointment was that there weren’t any suprise guests, but when you have the two biggest rappers in the game giving you their heart and soul to a room of thousands of screaming fans, you don’t need anyone else to come on stage and steal their shine. Besides, they played my favorite song “Ni**as in Paris” three times and Jay-Z performed “Encore” to close the show. Now that sh** cray!!!
Another day back n
Brooklyn…East Rutherford, NJ.
*Disclaimer: I was in the MSG area the days of the NY shows so I took pics outside. I didn’t see the show there.