I’ve been to a few concerts in my life — literally, a few.
So, as a kind-of-experienced concert-goer, this next statement may not hold as much weight as if I spent every weekend frequenting different concerts, but Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Watch the Throne” tour at IZOD Center was the best concert I have ever seen in my life.
From the word “go,” the two mega-stars were nothing short of amazing in their performance. I spent some time before the show trying to figure out if they were touring with an opener — I realized after the show began that they never needed one.
The duo opened the show with “H.A.M.,” from the collaborative album released on Aug. 8. Dueling each other on lit square stages on either side of the floor, the two dropped their famous rhymes from the song and then ascended toward the heavens on digitized angel wings that appeared on all sides of their rising stages.
Following “H.A.M.” were a couple more hits from the album, including “Who Gon’ Stop Me” and “Otis,” the radio hit that featured some sampling of Otis Redding.
As great as the opening was, it worried me. What if they just ran through the “Watch the Throne” album and left it at that?
I couldn’t have been more wrong. The real show began after the first group of “WTT” songs, when Jay and Kanye brought out the classics.
The two flowed seamlessly from song to song, with Yeezy and Jay-Z introducing themselves and stating their places of origin leading into Jay’s “Where I’m From,” among other witty transitions.
In one of the highlights of the show, the two transitioned through some of the works that they had made together, like Kanye’s “Monster” and Jay-Z’s mega-hit “Run This Town.”
The concert then took a more serious tone, as Jay and Kanye sat down on the lip of the main stage and performed their song “New Day” from “WTT,” a rap about fatherhood and doing right by your children.
The concert took an even more serious turn when the duo sang their song “No Church in the Wild.” Prior to playing the song, they stood and watched a video montage of Hurricane Katrina footage and KKK rallies while listening to Louie Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” It was chilling, to say the least.
The show moved forward with a few more individual hits (including Kanye’s surprisingly good autotuned performance of “Runaway” and “Heartless”), climaxing with a funny exchange where Jay-Z said he was “Big Pimpin’,” and Kanye said he couldn’t be because of “Gold Digger(s).” Jay said it wasn’t a big deal, because he has “99 Problems” but a bitch ain’t one.
That sequence was great, but the performance of “Niggas in Paris” bested it. The duo played the bass-thumping song from “WTT” once, stopped after Kanye’s “goin’ gorillas” line, and played the song once again before the lights cut out.
Most of the audience began leaving (“These people are fucking idiots!” I yelled to my friend with what little voice I had left) but then Jay proclaimed, “Fuck it, we don’t have anywhere better to be, let’s play it again!” And they played it again as the crowd erupted. Lastly, Hova and Kanye played “Encore,” a fitting end to an amazing concert.