Who: Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z
Where: Rogers Centre
When: Wednesday July 17, 2013
One Word: LegendaryÂ
You donât find yourself attending concerts at the Blue Jaysâ home quite often these days. When walking to the Rogers Centre in Torontoâs 43-degree heat, I was wishing it to be at a closer venue like the ACC. However, once I got there it was a different story. For a concert with two legends like Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z, and for the rare and special event of it being the first show off the huge Legends of the Summer tour, you need that 54,000 capacity arena. This night alone was sold-out, holding 45,000 individuals including hip-hop artist Drake.
After an hour of DJ Cassidyâs spins to get the party started, Timberlake and Jay-Z emerged at opposite ends of the stage, each in front of a huge screen projecting the otherâs image. As predicted, the two kicked off the show with Jay-Zâs âHoly Grail,â the leadoff song from his new album, âMagna CartaâŠ Holy Grail,â (being No. 1 album in Canada and U.S.) in which was performed in front of the same religious statue imagery off Magna Cartaâs cover.
As the song didnât sit with me well on the record â it was definitely much better live making it a terrific opening. Timberlakeâs beautiful falsettos were impeccable and Jay-Zâs rhymes were effortlessly delivered. As the cameras pointed toward Timberlake my eyes were stuck on Jay-Z. Moments before the show I discovered that the hip-hop star was 44-years-old and to my surprise the HOV never been so hipster â wearing a short-sleeved white button up shirt, with chains hanging down and a backwards Nets hat for that full edge appearance. After âHoly Grail,â it was Timberlakeâs turn on âGive It To Me,â the Timbaland song he co-wrote and guested on, and of course his very own âRock Your Body.â With this began the shared momentum with the two legends taking leads and contributing to each otherâs pieces. The crowd bounced and jammed as the two took turns at the mic, backed up by fantastic visual projections and a soulful and vigorous 14-person band.
We all know that Jay-Z can destroy any track to the fullest while bringing the crowd to bounce with the HOV sign to the beat â however Timberlakeâs performance astonished me entirely. When attending his FutureSex/LoveSounds concert six years ago, Timberlake brought out many dancers shaking away this way and that way that it does cause a distraction and takes away from the talent itself. For the Legends of the Summer tour, he left all the dancing chicks and presented himself as the front man of a tremendous band. His ability to bring poignant and groovy pop tunes highlights his true and very own musicianship â while also playing piano, keyboards and electric and acoustic guitar (which he also did on some of Jay-Zâs songs as well as his own). At only 32, Timberlake still portrays that magnetic charm as he sings.
But that doesnât mean there wasnât any dancing present. Timberlake and Jay-Z both encouraged the crowd to do the two-step â just toÂ groove along to some of the songs. Cheers blasted at every corner of the venue when âMy Loveâ began before Jay-Z came out having the crowd rock-out and bounce for âBig Pimpinâ.â
The big moment was when Jay-Z told the fans:
âYou are making us feel right at home,â he said. âWe appreciate all your love. But I still think weâre at a seven. We canât leave here with it being a 7 at the official start of the tour. We gotta turn it all the way up, not to 10, not to 20, not to 30, 40, 50, turn it all the way up to 99.â
With that the crowd shouted and cheered as an aggressive and stirring version of â99 Problems.â Jay-Z then played a remarkable amount of tracks, such as âFuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt,â âClique,â and an incredible turn on âHeart of the Cityâ as Timberlake sat down at the keys to sing the Bobby Bland âAinât No Loveâ part of the legendâs rap.
As Jay-Z went off stage it was now Timberlakeâs turn by himself onstage. His spicy and raw attitude for âSummer Loveâ had all the ladies around me cheering and yelling. Some indulging dance moves were performed for the âLove Stoned/I Think She Knowsâ interlude; the groove was set on the next song âLet The Groove Get In,â and followed by what Timberlake called âthe baby-butt spanking new âTake Back The Night.ââ â which was the only silent moment of the show.
Jay-Z returned to the stage and for the last 45 minutes of the show the two alternated spotlights. Jay-Z delivering âSong Cry,â Timberlake attacking one of his greatest jam of all time âCry Me A Riverâ followed by sitting at the upright piano for âWhat Goes Around Comes Aroundâ and Jay-Z knocking-off âTom Fordâ from Magna Carta.
It became a little too easy to predict which songs would come until one of the coolest and best collabs they did occurred. A spotlight shone on Timberlake singing Frank Sinatraâs âNew York, New Yorkâ and it was no shock on what Jay-Z song will burst out next. With Jay-Z kicking off âEmpire State of Mindâ we were all hoping for a special guest to appear â with his wife Beyonce being in down, she didnât come onstage to take Alicia Keysâ part, or on âRun This Townâ which Rihannaâs vocals on digital playback was used (Rihanna was a surprise guest with the two legends in London Sunday evening at Yahoo! Wireless Festival). It was a disappointment but it didnât take away of a great performance by both Timberlake and Jay-Z.
Jay-Z rapped his âEncoreâ next and Timberlake knocked us away with the forever sexy and spontaneous âSexyBack.â
Predictably, they opened the encore with âSuit & Tieâ â both classy in black blazers and Jay-Z carrying a champagne glass.
After they concluded the night by pumping up the 45,000 with âmake some noise,â Timberlake started singing the lines to Alphavilleâs âForever Youngâ â the moment that everyone knew was going to be the last song. They dedicated the song to Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen murdered by neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was acquitted Saturday of second-degree murder. Jay-Z then took over his âYoung Foreverâ track, the fourth single off his âThe Blueprint 3â album.
âPeace and love,â concluded Jay-Z. âWe are the legends of the summer.â
And with that ended one of the best-collaborated concerts ever with two of the greatest legends of music history.
Â© Jessica Paiva, Music Vice
Photos by Adriana Rocha and Jessica Reis:
Give It To Me
Rock Your Body
I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)
Excuse Me Miss
On To The Next One
Like I Love You
Jigga What, Jigga Who
Public Service Announcement
Somewhere In America
I Don’t Know
’03 Bonnie & Clyde
Heart Of The City (Ain’t No Love)
Pusher Love Girl
Until The End Of Time
Let The Groove Get In
Cry Me A River
What Goes Around… Comes Around
Dirt Off Your Shoulder
Empire State Of Mind
Run This Town
Suit & Tie
Young Forever (dedicated to Trayvon Martin)
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