Friday, October 30, 2009

Show Review: Jay-Z Live At The John Labatt Centre Thursday October 29, 2009


There was a ton of speculation leading up to Jay-Z’s performance on Thursday night in London, Ontario. Having opened game two of the World Series only hours before the show, nobody was really certain as to whether the Paul McCartney of hip-hop would bother to even show up to this low-profile gig. Thankfully, Jigga did show up, and I think everybody was surprised by the massive party he brought with him. I’d argue that this is the biggest concert London has ever seen and I was completely shocked by the energy radiating through the John Labatt Centre. Jay opened the show with “Run This Town” sans Kanye West and Rihanna, but it made no difference to the crowd who was willing to gobble up any banger Jay through at them. Jay came equipped with a massive backing-band that featured two drummers, a scaled-down horn section, keys and the requisite guitars and bass. The backing band simply exploded on the beat heavy “Run This Town”, setting the pace for the night which really never let up.Jay treated the audience to some special guests, bringing out the once popular Memphis Bleek to provide just the right amount of backing rhymes on a good number of tracks. N.E.R.D. member and producer extraordinaire Pharell Williams also guested on a few songs, most of which did not feature him in the originals, while Jay chose to perform real Pharell featured songs solo. Strange but satisfying as the man ripped apart every track he chose to perform. Jigga catered to the iPod shuffle generation, segueing in and out of shortened versions of his songs in order to appropriately sift through his massive song library. A re-worked, horn-heavy version of “I.Z.Z.O.” was really refreshing after this song was played to death on the radio some years ago, while the chestnut “Heart of the City” remained as powerful as ever. Jay chatted with the audience quite a bit, telling us to follow our dreams and remain inspired. He also noted how much love he felt in the air, and wherever he feels love, he feels at home, before launching into the infectious “Already Home” off of his new record The Blueprint 3.0. Jay-Z left the stage only to return for a 30 minute encore filled to the brim with rap-a-long club bangers including a rowdy version “Big Pimpin’” and a mostly a-cappella rendition of his 911 tribute “Thank You”, one of the standout tracks from his new record. Reluctantly leaving the stage just after midnight, it was easy to see that Jay-Z was overwhelmed by his London, Ontario reception, making me believe that our little city could remain a mainstay on Jay’s future tours. It was simply an incredible show from a man who has long surpassed hip-hop stardom and is now a full-fledged mega-star appealing to just about anybody who can appreciate good music, regardless of the genre.

Setlist:
Run This Town
D.O.A.
You Don’t Know
99 Problems
Show Me What You Got
Give It To Me
Jigga My
I.Z.Z.O.
Jigga What
Public Service Announcement
Heart of the City
Already Home
Empire State of Mind
A Star is Born
So Ambitious
Dirt Off Your Shoulders

Encore
Thank You
On to the Next One
Excuse Me Miss
Swagga Like Us
Can I Get A
Big Pimpin’
Hard Knock Life
Encore
Young Forever

2 comments:

jaredstark09 said...

Great review bud. Hit the nail on the head.

lsamuel3 said...

glad you enjoyed