Here are the Jay-Z Carnegie Hall review round-up, set-list details, concert photos and video from Mon. Feb. 6, 2012. The performance with a 36-piece orchestra and special guests including Alicia Keys and Naz was the first of two concerts at Stern Auditorium in historic Carnegie Hall. Both are in benefit of two charities; the United Way of New York City (UWNYC) and the multi-Grammy Award winning hip-hop icon’s own Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation. Details below after the jump.
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A round-up of reviews and song-list details are below, followed by links to photo galleries and video highlights.
With a full orchestra that included ?uestlove and Young Guru playing DJ, Hov took the stage at 8:45 p.m. ET after a dramatic string build. Emerging from the stage’s side door in a white tux jacket toting a gold bottle of Ace of Spades champagne, Jigga began his evening shouting, “Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is Hov,” the iconic opening line from 2003’s “Public Service Announcement.”
Those who thought Jigga would conform to the stuffy artistic standard typically associated with the famed concert hall were mistaken. Jay strutted across the stage drinking from his gold bottle promising the crowd, “It’s just tea.”
Thanks for waiting: Jay-Z commands the stage with an easy poise — his nimble swagger doesn’t seem out of place with the setting. He kicks into PSA and Thank You, and delivers a gently urgent a cappella rap version of Most Kingz, then gets loud, with the musicians, for You Don’t Know.
The Big Apple: The New York of other iconic artists is saluted with a string of Manhattan-themed selections, from a soulful spin on Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind to a quick take on Gil Scott-Heron’s New York Is Killing Me
“All those lines that divide us, we gonna step on them,” Jay-Z declared to the packed house at the start of his more than one hour long set. In fact, he stomped on them, climbing up to the balcony level at the conclusion of the show to rap from the box seats. He did more than dozen of his most popular hits, including “Forever Young,” “H to the Izzo,” and “Empire State of Mind.” And for the first time, he performed his ode to his new daughter Blue Ivy, “Glory.” “I ain’t think I was gonna make it through that one,” he said afterwards. “That was tough.”
“Mostly he stuck to mid- and late-career hits, the songs that made him something more than just the most important rapper in New York, from the sugary “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” to the booming “U Don’t Know” and “Run This Town” to the aggressive “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” and “99 Problems.” His most contemplative moment came on “Most Kingz,” which he began a capella. “See Jesus, see Judas/ See Caesar, see Brutus/ See success is like suicide,” he rapped, adding, “Every step you take they remind you you ghetto.”
More than any of his peers, Jay-Z understands the cultural politics of infiltration, and as he gets older, he’s made it more the subject of his music. Taking over an institution like this, he didn’t take lightly. And he brought fellow crashers. The only guests, whether by design or not, were fellow New Yorkers: Alicia Keys, who was thunderous on “Empire State of Mind,” which came after the orchestra and band played a medley of New York songs, including Gil Scott-Heron’s chilling “New York Is Killing Me.” That was followed by “N.Y. State of Mind,” for which Jay-Z brought out onetime nemesis Nas, who was catching his breath on both that song and “If I Ruled The World,” on which Ms. Keys sang the Lauryn Hill part. Fellow Brooklynite the Notorious B.I.G. also got a nod, with Jay-Z rapping a bit of “Gettin’ Money (The Get Money Remix).”
Click here for concert photo gallery. Click here for more pictures. Jay-Z’s wife, music superstar Beyonce made her first public appearance since giving birth to the couple’s child; click here for photos.
Watch video below.
Photo credit: Joella Marano (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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