Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Lots of Luv in The Heart of the City
The final show of the MJB/Jay-Z Heart of the City Tour in one word? Perfection. From the circumstances under which my golden ticket was obtained to the last word, bellowed in unison by Mary, Jay and their random final guest Swizz Beatz ("Sweeeeet!!!!"), the performances went off without a hitch, well unless you count the multiple masterbation mimes performed by The Dream's dancers.
So here's the backstory: I work for a marketing company with lots-o ties to the music industry and the beauty company Carol's Daughter as a client, so when Jay and Mary decided to go out on tour our ever-industrious Chief Creative Officer decided to take the Carol's Daughter show along, literally following the tour buses and passing out samples before the concerts and at nearby colleges.
My co-workers and I (collectively known as "the Beauty team," see there we are smiling in front of the wrapped van...the stories behind that vehicle you don't want to know) worked tirelessly on this tour for months so our team leader decided that we deserved to at least experience the show...and her wish was granted! Four impossibly hard to get tickets in impossibly great seats for the impossibly hyped finale of the tour. Sweeeeettt.
Cut to tonight, in Madison Square Garden (my first time there), hit writer turned singer The Dream has wrapped up his short, opening set (taking his four 90's dancing, porn star in the making companions with him) and the clock is ticking in anticipation for the The Dreams that we really came to see -
<----see, there's a literal countdown. The crowd shouts "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" and BOOM! The duo rise out of the floor, standing back to back in matching sparkly ensembles and immediately jump into "Can't Knock the Hustle," the crime-pays record that started it all. Jay-Z falls back and lets the Queen do her thing. Always a fan but never a stan, I really began to understand the hold that Mary has over people, especially the downtrodden and wronged of the world. Opening with the sweetest rap song ever, "You're All I Need," she was soon joined by Method Man himself who spit the whole song and temporarily made me stop hating him for betraying Prop Joe (yes, The Wire is an obsession). She masterfully commanded the crowd as she glided through her barrage of hit songs before tearing up as she belted out the lyrics to "No More Drama," (and not in the cheesy, fake-crying way that Beyonce does). The tears didn't stop as she pushed through some of her sadder songs (read: the My Life album) including a crowd-pleasing "Not Gone Cry," that was complete with black lipstick. She took us to church on each song, crying, kneeling to the floor, spasming and stopping to drop pearls of wisdom in between, telling the men to stay with their women even when things start to droop (her words, not mine) and the women to celebrate their life as it is now but never to lose hope that Prince C will eventually show up.
After almost an hour with the emotional roller coaster that is Mary, Jay takes the stage and represents for the gents. From the coke rhymes ("Dead Presidents," "I Know," etc) to love songs to party anthems to a moving (well, moving to me) tribute to our future Prez Obama complete with a big picture of Bush that we all got to point our middle fingers at, he showed us why he's the most famous rapper alive. But famous as he is, he's still just very expensive arm candy for the hottest chick in the game who came out in all of her thick-thighed, blonde-haired fabulousness to strut and do a little shimmy to their jam, "Crazy In Love." While Jay had the crowd going nuts, B's 15 second performance took it to a new level.
Ending with "Heart of the City" and "You All Are Welcome," which sounds much better live than it does on the radio, the two locked arms with Swizz and exited, stage left. Sweeeetttt.