Watch the Throne Tour Review
At the risk of sounding cliche, I will say that the combination of Jay-Z and Kanye West on a tour together is “epic” indeed. Two of hip hop’s most revered and commercially successful artists joining forces while charging $200 for a floor seat might sound ridiculous to some, but they made damn sure every attendee got their money’s worth. After waiting close to three hours from the time doors opened until the show laid down its first beat, it was the least they could do. I think the wait had its advantages, though. The crowd was energetic despite the Sunday night occasion and like Jay and Kanye, remained alert and very much into the show from start to finish.
Myself included, of course! I didn’t know what to expect. I find a majority of the hip hop shows I attend to be rather boring. The production value for this tour, however, made it quite difficult to be anything but entertained. The night started off with Jay-Z and Kanye on large LED cubes that opposed each other. Here’s a looksie:
It took me a while to realize Jay was on the other cube, though, because I was so distracted by Kanye’s odd choice in apparel. Let’s all pause for a moment to discuss this. I must say I expected a lot more swag from ‘Ye. He can pull himself together quite nicely, but this look was not one of his most shining moments. You’ve got Jay-Z lookin like any middle-aged rapper should….t-shirt and baggy jeans, but not too baggy. Mature thug wear. He had the bandana hanging out of one back pocket. Clean kicks. Just what you would expect.
As for Kanye, we really aren’t sure what this guy was thinking when he got dressed for the show. He must have just watched Braveheart, or something. Perhaps he was trying to channel his inner warrior. The kilt-ish garb was strange enough, but pairing it with extra long t-shirts too big for even a pregnant broad, that’s what really threw me off. They weren’t even cute t-shirts either. My bet is he was trying to get into character. We really wish we would have taken a more up-close shot of Kanye’s outfit, but these will have to do. We were too busy bustin’ a move half the time anyway.
This was also my first concert with pyro. It was awesome, but I couldn’t help but worry about the back-up band. The flames were awfully close to them, and what started shooting up from the floor eventually migrated into the guts of the lighting hanging from the rafters above. I wasn’t sure if that was on purpose or if they turned the gas on too high. Either way, you could feel the heat from where we were, a comfortable two rows from the floor and directly in the middle of the action. We couldn’t have asked for a better spot!
We found ourselves wondering what the hell putting our diamonds up meant. We felt like total noobs. Almost every other person in the room was throwing their diamonds up on command, but we just didn’t understand the context. Until now. We won’t make that amateur move the second time around if we get to see Jay-Z in concert again. In fact, I’ve already started practicing my form. Putting your diamonds up for an extended period of time can be hard work, but no more difficult than the 2+ hour set Jay and ‘Ye provided us with. I was impressed with their stamina. I don’t think either of them left the stage for any reason other than to do their individual sets, which were chock full of hits from the past two decades. I had no idea how many songs the two of them have done together and how many hits each of them have cranked out over the span of their individual careers, but to call either of them mediocre or understate the level of talent they’re touting would be doing them a great disservice.
It’s difficult to pick a favorite moment of the evening. They played all of their big hits. I heard they played somewhere in the realm of 39 songs. The ones that stuck out the most were their most popular songs. Empire State of Mind was a crowd favorite. Dayom right, we snabbed some footage from that moment!
Current hit Ni**as in Paris was certainly a favorite of the pair, who did the song about 4 times during the encore, claiming only the *true* fans stayed until the very end. I thought they might have been playing a cruel joke on me…making me listen to a song I’m not that in love with that many times in a row, but no one seemed to mind, and as they revved up that song’s engine for the second, third and even the fourth time, the energy level of the crowd rose exponentially. My favorite part of the evening were the reactions of both Jay and Kanye. You could tell they were both genuinely having a good time. They fed off of the crowd’s energy and encouraged participation at every opportunity. I don’t think they were expecting such big thangs from Pgh, but we showed them what’s up.
All in all, this was one of the top 5 shows I’ve seen this year. The energy was through the roof. There was a huge sense of community among concertgoers. Everyone was having an absolute blast, which Jay and Kanye picked up on almost right away and reciprocated the love right back into the crowd. It was a lot better than what I expected it to be. A fantastic marriage of over the top production, lasers, LEDs, pyro and of course, two of the most talented rappers of my generation. An “epic” combo indeed. We’ll leave you with some photos we took. It’s the least we can do.