Would it surprise anyone that a non-rap fan would risk bitter cold temps, running a 101+ temp of his own, and downing some extra special codeine enhanced cough meds to suppress the bronchitis tackling his immune system would risk his general health just to see the music mogul called Jay-Z? I mean, c’mon, we are talking one of the biggest acts out there today, one of the ‘household namers’ , the mover, the shaker, Mr. Beyoncé, Mr. Beats headphones, “99 Problems” Guy, and yet ticket sales are one? Only roughly 7500 Pittsburghers pre-bought tickets. Huh? I don’t even like this type of music and I am out here half dead to see this guy and you aren’t? What gives?
This is Mr. Shawn Carter’s first solo tour in four years, promoting his 12th studio release, “Magna Carta … Holy Grail”. Creative director Timbaland was on hand commanding the keys/beats and well, creatively directing. The stage set was truly visually impressive, at least structurally, a geometric build that was somewhat old-school in it’s inception. Jay Z hit the stage with “U Don’t Know” and “Crown” and stayed very much in the ‘Magna Carta’ vein for the first half of the show. Being that “Magna Carta … Holy Grail” is up for nine nominations at the Grammy Awards, and Jay Z and his wife Beyoncé are performing Jan. 26 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, maybe that’s the point.
But, it didn’t take long for the old faves and the stuff that made him legend to roll out the goods such as “99 Problems”, “Dead Presidents II”, “Big Pimpin'”, Jigga What, Jigga Who”, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”, “Empire State of Mind”, “Izzo”, “Hard Knock Life” and “Young Forever” which was dedicated to Nelson Mandela. If the lack of a crowd was any bother to Mr. Carter, it did not show, he was smiles from the beginning to the end and looked like he was having a blast. There are many reasons that the man is who he is, and has the rep he does. He lives up to every one of those expectations and puts on a hell of a show without the need for tons of bells and whistles.
Maybe much of Pittsburgh was not willing to shell out a few dollar,s or brave the cold, or whatever their excuse was to miss the man they call Jigga. What they missed was an experience to see someone who is a master at his craft perform…which is for many a music fan, priceless.
First set of photos ©2014 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine
second set of photos courtesy of ©2014 MPapphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine