So, as an introvert, I rarely venture out if there is going to be a large crowd. By large I mean more than about 6 people. In this case, on November 14, 2017, I made an exception. This was the night of Jay-Z’s 4:44 tour stop in Atlanta. I just had to be in the building. Those of you who know me in real life or follow me on Instagram and read my daily (m-f) hip hop quotes know that I am a huge Jay-Z fan. I mean huge! I think 90–95% of the quotes are from Jay. I even low-key work some of his lyrics into at least one conversation everyday. I mean he’s the greatest of all time. He’s not a businessman. He’s a business, man. See I just did it.
The show was dope and opened with Rocnation artist, Vic Mensa. I really like this guy and I think he’s gonna be a star.
Now lets talk about this show. No, I take that back. This was not a show it was… An experience. The ultimate show from beginning to end. I’ve been to every Jay-Z concert, except ‘On The Run’, and this is by far the best one yet.
Not only was it sonically amazing but the show was visually stunning as well. I was on my feet from the opening of ‘Kill Jay-Z’ to the Closing and mic drop of ‘What More Can I Say’. This man ran through 20 years of hits, flawlessly. It’s so hard to describe how great the show is. It’s definitely something that you have to experience.
So visually, there were these 3 triangular displays above the moving circular stage. These displays served as both a screen for people in the higher seats to see the stage as well as a way to display a montage throughout certain songs. The displays moved in a way that they would engulf the stage during set changes and rotate during the show to emphasize certain moments. Crazy! The stage moved up and down dependent on the song and mood of the moment. It was all so visually stunning. The way the stage was set there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. I personally had really great seats. I was close enough to be able to see the stage and Jay clearly and easily without any obstructions.
There was a moment in the show when Jay was performing, his song ‘The Story of OJ’ from the 4:44 album, that was crazy. So if you don’t know the song, it has a very jazz band feel to it. There was a young man in the audience named Eric the Radical. This young man brought his trombone with him to the show and was playing along when Jay notices and brings him onstage. Dude had his own instrument with him in the audience at the concert! Again, Crazy! Jay was like “This is the wildest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole 20 year career”. I personally think he was a plant because the situation doesn’t add up to just randomness but I’m also a conspiracy theorist so… anyway, the guy comes on stage and plays along with Jay as he finishes a verse. Epic. As he is going back to his seat though it was almost tragic. He wasn’t paying attention, probably from being starstruck, and almost walked in to one of the orchestra pits strategically placed around the stage. Luckily, Jay notices and yells “wait!” right before his next step. Shit could’ve gone left and quick if had he taken another step.
Jay has so many hits it’s ridiculous. I stood the entire time rocking out and rapping along word for word! It was crazy seeing 20,000+ other people all rocking and moving to the beat at the same time. He ran through hit after hit after hit after hit. The fact that he had no guest appearances and still killed it by himself is amazing. When the bass drop from ‘Kill Jay-Z’ comes on to start the show and the displays lift as he begins his verse I got goosebumps and I knew I was in for a great time. I also love that he ran through his songs based on mood and not order. He didn’t do all of his old stuff and lead into the new stuff, nah. He mixed and matched verses from different albums and eras into a cohesive and extensive version of a greatest hits album. 20 years worth of some of the dopest verses ever heard. This show, no experience, solidifies why he’s my favorite rapper/showman and one of the greatest of all time at what he does. If this tour is coming to your city, don’t hesitate. Go!