The Day of Jay-Z
Last night's ticket price was the highest I've ever had to pay for a concert, but it was a special one, and upon the curtain opening one look at the stage clarified why it was a $100 show. The audience was slightly dumbfounded when all they saw was a 23 piece string orchestra. I had been sneaking a peek behind the curtain earlier and wondered why there were so many white and asian girls running around, and now I saw them gracefully holding their violins and cellos and I understood. Behind the 23 piece string orchestra there was a 8 piece horn section and finally an 8 piece band led by ?uestlove of the legendary Roots crew.
Jay started out in a white blazer but soon removed it to show off his sequenced t-shirt. I'm thinking Beyonce wasn't in town for surely she would've vetoed that wardrobe choice. You can't quite see the level of gaudiness in these pictures but trust me. The occasion of the concert was a rehearsal for tonight's show at Radio City Music Hall to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his first classic album Reasonable Doubt. He took his time and performed most cuts off the album, I think Friend of Foe was missing but somehow I find that hard to believe. Maybe I just blanked out. Sauce Money guested on Bring It On and Memphis Bleek on Coming of Age, but Jaz-O, Foxy Brown and Mary J Blige were missing. I also expected Nas to maybe come out for the chorus to Dead Presidents. Perhaps they'll come out tonight. Just Blaze served as a DJ and was excellent. Especially in the 40 minute encore section where all the musicians left the stage and Jay burned through a set of post-Reasonable Doubt songs. Including Hustlin' (rmx), Hola Hovito, What More Can I Say, Change Clothes, Big Pimpin, Jigga What/Jigga Who, Hovi Baby, and many more.
The orchestra was quite amazing and it was most amusing to see the classically trained string players nod their heads and even sing along with such classic lines as say "Ain't no nigga like the one I got, no one can fuck me better." Highlight of the night was a new freestyle at the end of Twenty Two Twos called Fourty Four Fours where he dropped the word 'four' 44 times in a rhyme and ended it with: "that's fourty four four motherfuckers and I'm nice." Classic hip hop moment. I saw a bunch of cameras out there so I'm sure YouTube will have a video of that one soon. It was a great concert, great experience and I really liked the venue as well. Good sound, nice vibe. Honorable mention for superb DJing pre-show by an invisible ?uestlove.
Photos via Wallace. Many thanks to Rad for being....rad...and enabling me to purchase an extra ticket he had. For face. Because scalpers die and nice people sell for face.
UPDATE 1: Would love to find out what the name of the orchestra is.
UPDATE 2: PARTIAL VIDEO ADDED OF 44 FOURS (thank you Urbanics Media)
UPDAT 3: 5 More Videos here
Download of the Day
Rick Ross ft Jay-Z & Young Jeezy - Hustlin' (RMX) (MP3)
Beyonce ft Jay-Z - Deja Vu (MP3) via SoulSides
Jay-Z ft Missy Elliott & Twista (MP3) via NoFrontin
Freeway - What We Do (MP3) via NoFrontin