Jay-Z and Kanye West delivered another outstanding concert performance last night (November 7) at New York’s Madison Square Garden for the first of two back-to-back Watch the Throne Tour stops at the Big Apple venue.
While somewhat understated — minus the two elevating stages and some laser-type light effects — and featuring no guest appearances, the first night of WTT in NYC was a spectacular show that found both heavy hitters rapping some of their favorite collective and individual tracks from their respective careers.
The two-and-a-half-hour show started promptly at 9:30 p.m. as Jay-Z and Kanye West, both dressed in black (West rocked a leather kilt), each popped up on their own smaller stage, one that stood in front of the main stage and the other just at the end of the flat seats section. “H.A.M.” kicked off the set as green spot lights sparkled on both Jay and ‘Ye and their stages both rose about six feet in the air, emulating the World Trade Center towers.
At some point, the lights went out and the rappers made their way to the main stage, as an oversized American flag dropped behind them. “It sounds so beautiful, don’t you agree?” asked Jay before they collectively ran through tracks like “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Gotta Have It.”
“Shout out to Ebro [PD for Hot 97],” Kanye said before performing his first-ever single, “Through the Wire.” “Flashing Lights” and “Jesus Walks” were a part of his first solo set, which was followed by Jay’s first individual set, during which he performed songs like “Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99)” and “Jigga My Nigga.”
The Throne performed other joint tracks, like “Run This Town,” “Monster,” “New Day” and “Made It in America” while leaving the stage off-and-on to allow the other to perform songs from his individual roster, like Jay-Z’s “Public Service Announcement,” “You Don’t Know,” “Hard Knock Life” and the crowd-pleaser “Empire State of Mind,” as well as Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” and “Runaway,” the latter which prompted the rapper to go into an Auto-Tune rant about love.
“Anybody in love tonight?” he asked. “It won’t always be easy, especially if people all in your business the way they do Yeezy… But if you’re in love tonight, you gotta do me a favor… If you love someone tonight, hold on real tight. If I told you I didn’t like the way your hair looked, don’t listen ’cause I’m an asshole. I thought you’d always be mine.. If I said I didn’t still love you I would be lying.”
Other My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy bangers were performed, like “All of the Lights,” for which ‘Ye once again interrupted the show to fight with the light technician as he did in his Washington, D.C. stop, clearly a part of the act. “Hold up, hold up,” he demanded, “Where all my lights at? We go through this all the time. The song is called ‘All of the Lights.’ Now, let’s try this shit again, please.”
Jay-Z and Kanye shut the show down by performing their hit, “Niggas in Paris,” three times back-to-back. “These niggas won’t go home,” ‘Ye joked, prompting the two to go into overtime for an encore with the very appropriate “Encore” followed by a medley of the duo’s famous songs.
I hope we gave y’all all y’all needed,” Jay-Z said as the two exited the stage. “Thanks for y’all energy. New York City, make some noise!”—Mariel Concepcion (@mceezy)