Jay-Z announced that those in the crowd at Yankee Stadium on September 14th were witnessing history, and he was right. The show, which was the last of Jay-Z and Eminem’s Home and Home Tour (they played two shows in Detroit in early September followed by two shows at Yankee Stadium on the 13th and 14th), was an amazing evening for both of the rappers and hip-hop.
But before the two headliners began the show rapper B.O.B. took the stage and gave an excellent performance. He played for about an hour, and was more exuberant and entertaining than most opening acts tend to be. His songs are mostly upbeat, and you can tell easily that he has a great time on stage, which projects to the audience; at one point he made everyone in the audience put on their sunglasses before performing Past My Shades. Other standout performances from B.O.B. included Magic, Let Me Fall and his big summer hit Nothin’ On You.
It wasn’t too long after B.O.B. left the stage that the main show began. Eminem came out in full force with his rock-tinged song Won’t Back Down. Eminem looked and sounded better than ever, playing for about an hour and a half, filled his set with all the hits, including Cleaning Out My Closet, Without Me, The Real Slim Shady, Without Me, Crack A Bottle, 3 AM, and more. He also brought out special guests, 50 Cent, who performed Patiently Waiting with Eminem, and crowd-pleaser In Da Club before bringing out members of G-Unit, who performed I Get Money in glow in the dark clothing, and Dr. Dre, who performed Nuthin’ But A G-Thang, and promised (again) that the infamous Detox album is “coming”. Eminem also brought out his band D-12 who performed hits like Purple Pill and My Band, during which they paid special tribute to band member Proof who passed away in 2006. The rapper also brought B.O.B. back out and the two performed Airplanes Part II.
However, despite the special guests, the set was all about Eminem, who seemed truly grateful and honored to be playing. And he gave an impassioned performance, performing songs like Stan and Love the Way You Lie with the fierce intensity his fans have come to expect. He ended the show with his two most inspirational and moving songs; Not Afraid, which highlights his recovery and Lose Yourself, his Academy-Award winning anthem, that had the entire crowd rapping along with him.
Afterwards a yellow clock counted down until Jay-Z was set to take the stage. The sold-out crowd in Yankee Stadium was electric. They knew that they were witnessing something special, and their energy exuded that fact. Just after 10:30 Jay-Z took the stage in a blaze of glory. He is a tremendous presence, and an incredible talent. After his opening number he began Run This Town, during which Kanye West, in a bright red suit, came out to perform his part, he stayed on stage for the Power Remix, Monster, featuring Nicki Minaj (who came back out later to perform Up All Night with Drake, yet another special guest), and Good Life. Swiss Beatz joined Jay for On to the Next One, Eminem came back on stage for their duet Renegade, Mary J. Blige sang the chorus of City of Lights, and Beyonce came on stage for Young Forever, which Jay-Z declared was “only for you, New York”.
Jay-Z doesn’t need all the very welcomed special guests, though, because watching him in action is gift enough. Jay-Z went non-stop for approximately 90 minutes, during which he performed all of the hits: Big Pimpin’ is even more fun live than it is on record, 99 Problems was done ferociously with great lights and video highlighting a classic song, Hard Knock Life, during which the crowd sung along with the chorus and Empire State of Mind – his homage to New York, that exuberantly filled the stadium. During the last half-hour of his show, Jay truly rolled out all the hits, one right after the other: Show Me What you Got, Dirt Off Your Shoulder, Jigga…, Izzo, Hustler and Encore.
What is very special about Jay-Z though is how down to earth he seems, even with his massive, legendary success. He seemed truly honored and grateful to be performing at Yankee Stadium, he seemed truly appreciative of his fans, giving some of them shout outs at the tail end of the show, and even inviting one birthday girl on stage for a hug. He paid tribute to the Notorious BIG, and told the story of how he invited one of the father’s of hip hop, Kool Herc, to the show after Monday’s performance. All in all, Jay-Z is a true class act.
Jay-Z and Eminem are true titans of hip-hop, and when they came together, they proved that and more to their dedicated fans, in a once in a lifetime show.