So me and the homies Jesus and Lowkey went to see Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige perform their second to last Heart Of The City tour date at Madison Square Garden last night.
I’m a big Jay supporter pre-Kingdome Come, but I must say, I’ve never enjoyed his stage show much. His catalog is insane, though. I mean, it’s really impressive when you consider that he didn’t even perform hits like, “Do It Again” and “Excuse Me Miss” remix after an hour plus set. Thank God, because we may have been there for a few more hours and I couldn’t possibly bear it. Dude is just too constipated up there. It’s always the same reluctant back and forth hand and shoulder motions and “put your diamonds up” requests. I may as well have given the MSG engineer my iPod and told him to put Jay on shuffle. Same difference, except I may have heard “D’evils” or “Friend Of Foe.” I actually take insult to dude asking me to move and put my hands up when he refuses to budge his damn self. I don’t buy the laid back excuse. I suspect that he is either uncomfortable or doesn’t like to exercise much. Amazingly, he apparently used to be worse.
Meanwhile, word is that Mary J. got better. I wouldn’t know. It was my first time seeing her perform live, and I must say she just killed it. She gets flack for having limited range, but her voice sounded just like her records live. Where Jay was stiff, Mary was energetically two-stepping, doing the whop, some quasi pop and locking and of course her own indescribable MJB dance moves. She just leaves her heart and soul on that stage.Blige’s catalog is just as monstrous as Jay’s. Shorty performed all types of classics including, “Real Love,” “Sweet Thing,” “Bring Me Joy,” “All I Need” with a suprise appearance from Method Man, “Your Child,” “Family Affair” and many more. Impressively, dudes joined in on the sing along during “Not Gon Cry” and “I’m Going Down,” two of her most chick-relatable songs. Usually dudes would have fell back and tried to look cool, but Mary was going in so hard, the fellers, me included, just couldn’t do her like that. The sing along reached a peak on “I’m Going Down,” where Mary held the mic for the audience and let them sing the entire freakin’ song.By most accounts, Mary’s set topped Jay’s. Also see what my homies Lowkey and Jesus had to say about the concert.
Let’s not get it twisted, Hov still gives a decent show, but I’m starting to think he needs guests to be great on stage. Ask anybody about his farewell MSG concert, the show documented in Fade To Black. Dude had the Roots backing him up, Foxy Brown, Mary, Ghostface, Beyonce, all types of guests. It was sick! Last night, Beyonce came out for 30 second strut to “Crazy In Love” and Hov put a picture of Barack Obama on the jumbo screen after taunting George W. Bush. Had the Illinois Senator popped onstage, it would have been the end of the world, but he obviously had his hands full with the Indiana and North Carolina primaries. The thing is, I can listen to your joints at the crib, so if I come to see you live, you better be doing back flips or something. Seeing Jay reminded me of how sick his catalog is. But seeing Mary made me realizes how great of an entertainer she is. Any of you went to the show? Speak on it!
For any questions or to submit song for XXL’s upcoming “Soundcheck” section, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.