Review: Jay-Z and Eminem Thrill At First Joint NYC Concert!
It was the show dreams were made of, and there was almost nothing they didn't do. Jay-Z and Eminem brought their tag-team concert series to NYC's Yankee Stadium last with a blockbuster ticker that included their greatest hits and an all-star guest list of their friends, including Beyonce, Kanye West, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Dr. Dre, Swizz Beats, Nicki Minaj and a reunited D-12.
Of course, as it was his turf, the night most belonged to Hova, who had the longer closing set. But that doesn't mean Slim Shady's set (which followed a short opener by crooner J. Cole) was anything to sneeze at. Hitting the stage at 8:35 and rolling through his calvacade of hits for almost two hours, Em (who was, like Jay, dressed in "all black everything," including a hoodie and a hat for much of the night) launched with "Won't Back Down" from his latest No. 1 album, Recovery, followed by an equally fiery "3 A.M." off 2009's Relapse.
But Em really got things off the ground when throwing off his hoodie for "W.T.P." (that stands for "White Trash Party", FYI). "What the F is up?" Em said shortly after, in his first address of the audience, before chanting "Free Lil Wayne!" while spitting out his Recovery duet with Weezy, "No Love."
Of course, he also had some harsh words still aimed at his mother when asking the packed stadium, "How many people out there ever had beef with their parents?" before chanting "F*** you, mama!" to intro "Cleaning Out My Closet," which segued into "The Way I Am."
But he also had quite a few more tricks up his sleeve: A reunited D-12 joined him on hits including "Fight Music," Purple Pills" and "My Band" (which included a salute to deceased member, Proof, and Celebrity Fit Club alum Bizarre of D-12 stripping to reveal his rotund, tattoo-covered belly); B.o.B. Joined in on his smash "Airplanes"; 50 Cent kept the crowd cheering with his own mini-set, including "In Da Club" and a light-up Gucci ensemble; and Dr. Dre drew probably the largest crowd reaction of the night to rap "Still Dre" and "Nuthin But A G Thang."
But aside from the help, Em held his own with many of his own classicss, including "The Real Slim Shady," "Cinderella Man," "Not Afraid" and the closing "Lose Yourself."
The energy was still on full blast when Jay-Z's set started to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Jigga emerged, also in "all black everything" in a black leather jacket and his signature dark shades. "Before I start this piece, rest in peace to the boss, George," he announced, referring to recently decease Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and then going into "Dynasty Intro" and "Run This Town." That prompted his first surprise: a red-suited Kanye West. Yeezy laid down some of his own recent tracks, which included his "Power" remix with another guest stint by Nicki Minaj," and some older hits like "Can't Tell Me Nothing" and "The Good Life."
Swizz Beats joined in on his Jay duet "Onto The Next One," and, after a solo Jay pushed out "D.O.A," Eminem returned to the stage for a rousing "Renegade." Following that colossal meeting of the minds, Memphis Bleek joined in on Jay classics "U Don't Know," "99 Problems" and "Big Pimpin."
But Jay's set wasn't without his own R.I.P. Tribute, which he gave to the Notorious B.I.G. (after also mentioning Proof, Pimp C and Tupac Shakur to mark the 14th anniversary of his death) by blasting Biggie's "One More Chance."
The next guest was Chris Martin of Coldplay, who thrilled the crowd by singing the hook of "Heart Of The City" and a little later his own "Viva La Vida." Drake followed with his own "Miss Me" and his own "Free Weezy!" chant on "Lights Up."
But perhaps the biggest collabo of the night was Beyonce singing the chorus on "Forever Young" (filling in for that track's Mr. Hudson) and Jay shouting her out with, "That hirl bad! That girl tough!" as she exited the stage.
Sadly, "Empire State of Mind" lacked the presence of a now very-pregnant Alicia Keys but still brought the house, as did "Jigga My N---a," "Izzo," "Where I'm From" and "Dirt Off Your Shoulder." By the end, "Encore," Jay summed up the historic event by saying, "This night was like a gift for me. I hope I returned it tenfold." I don't think anybody in the house would disagree.