Jay-Z and Kanye West kicked off their "Watch the Throne" tour this weekend with a two-night stand at Atlanta's Phillips Arena, Oct. 28 and 29: were the performances royally worthy?
Several outlets reported from the frontlines, with video cropping up to support. The stint seems to be already well-received, as the two-and-a-half hours of performance time contained hits from each rapper's solo canon on top of songs performed from the "Throne" collaboration record.
According to USA Today, the show was "visually spectacular, describing "a main, T-shaped stage where both entertainers performed together, and also two cube-shaped mini-stages, one at each end of the arena, that rose and lowered. The two rappers performed separately on these cubes, which showed various images (a snarling pitbull, a swimming shark) at different points of the show. Fireballs the size of car tires shot from the floor..."
AllHipHop was dazzled by the visuals, too. "If you have seen a Kanye West Concert, the laser lights are slicing through the air giving a spectacular visual to his 'Can’t Tell Me Nothing.' Then the green laser lights displays a psychedelic flurry as Kanye performs “Flashing Lights.” The special effects make you feel like you are in his original music video. Kanye completes this mini-set with 'Jesus Walks' where he does his patented Jesus dance/walk to an already excited crowd, and closes with 'Diamonds Are Forever.' Since Jay-Z appeared on the remix to this song, they naturally did that version as Jay-Z walks out on cue and says, 'I got it from here, ‘Ye – damn…' and goes right into his verse. Amazing!"
MTV pointed out that there was no opening act, and a DJ spun older soul and R&B hits before the performers took the stage. Jay-Z battled monitor problems, which affected a poor performance of "H.A.M." from both rappers, but soon the sound difficulties were cured and the show exhibited "perfection." West looked the part, too.
"Kanye owned the outfit of the night. After one particular wardrobe change, he marched out to 'Touch the Sky' sporting a tribal-type jacket, leather kilt, leather pants underneath and his glow-in-the-dark Air Yeezys. Hov's black Yankee snapback and matching hoodie were no match."
The opening show wasn't without its problems, including one that may haunt the rest of the 32-date stint: an inaccurate start time. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said fans booed when it became apparent the show would start at 9 p.m., not the advertised 7:30 p.m. kick-off.
"... lousy sound, a slightly bloated set list, video footage that sometimes seemed haphazardly assembled – the bottom line is that the guys unveiled a brisk, hits-filled show that was as exhausting to watch as it was entertaining."
"For all the duo's efforts at visual stimulation though, it was actually the night's simplest moments that really resonated — Jay and Kanye sitting on the edge of stage during 'New Day' and 'Hard Knock Life,' or Jay, smiling broadly and wrapping his arm around Kanye's shoulder as the latter worked through the verses of 'Gold Digger,'" said Spin. "At those moments, it was possible to imagine that these were just two intensely creative guys who really liked making music together as opposed to two giant corporations completing a mutually beneficial merger."
Check out some video of the shows over the weekend:
Here is the night one set list:
"Who Gon Stop Me"
"Try a Little Tenderness"
"Welcome to the Jungle"
"Gotta Have It"
"Where I'm From"
"Nigga What? Nigga Who?"
"Can't Tell Me Nothing"
"Diamonds From Sierra Leone" (Remix)
"U Don't Know"
"Run This Town"
"Power + Remix"
"Murder to Excellence"
"Hard Knock Life"
"Empire State of Mind"
"On to the Next One"
"Dirt Off Your Shoulders"
"Touch the Sky"
"All of the Lights"
"Big Pimpin' "
"No Church in the Wild"
"Niggas In Paris"
"Made in America"
"Why I Love You"
Here are the rest of Kanye West and Jay-Z's tour dates:
11/01/2011 Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner Arena
11/02/2011 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
11/03/2011 Washington, DC Verizon Center
11/05/2011 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
11/06/2011 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
11/07/2011 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
11/08/2011 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
11/14/2011 Ft. Lauderdale, FL BankAtlantic Center
11/15/2011 Miami, FL American Airlines Arena
11/18/2011 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
11/19/2011 Atlantic City, NJ Boardwalk Hall
11/21/2011 Boston, MA TD Garden
11/22/2011 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
11/23/2011 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
11/24/2011 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
11/26/2011 Detroit, MI Palace of Auburn Hills
11/27/2011 Pittsburgh, PA Consol Energy Center
11/29/2011 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
11/30/2011 Chicago, IL United Center
12/01/2011 Chicago, IL United Center
12/03/2011 New Orleans, LA New Orleans Arena
12/05/2011 Houston, TX Toyota Center
12/06/2011 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
12/09/2011 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena
12/10/2011 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion
12/12/2011 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
12/13/2011 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
12/16/2011 Tacoma , WA Tacoma Dome
12/17/2011 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena
12/18/2011 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena