Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jay-Z Descends On Toyota Center In Houston; Bun B Joins In Concert Recap

(photo courtesy of Karen Warren / Chronicle)

via the Houston Chronicle

Jay Z kicked off his Monday (Feb. 22) night set at Toyota Center with the anthemic Run This Town -- and it proved a fitting theme for the evening.

The rap mogul's entrance sent a jolt of energy through the venue, and he was aided by a terrific band and an expanse, elaborate stage. The jagged screens morphed into everything from a skyline to booming speakers. (This was Jay-Z's second stop on his BP3 2010 tour.)

The Beastie Boys' No Sleep till Brooklyn cued Jigga's intro, and a clock counted down from 10 minutes until his arrival (well after 9 p.m.). He thundered through On To the Next One and D.O.A. (Death of Autotune) with a commanding, confident grace.

The crowd was on its feet and sang along with every word -- 99 Problems, Show Me What You Got, I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me). Diamonds, of course, were frequently up in the air.

Rapper Memphis Bleek made an early appearance and stuck around for most of the two-hour show, a dutiful sideman to his former Roc-A-Fella boss. And local hero Bun B checked in for a winning version of Big Pimpin' dedicated to the late Pimp C.

Even if rap isn't your game, a Jay-Z show is a must-see -- if only for the nonstop frenzy of male groupies that linger on his every word and lip-sync every lyric. Beyond that, however, Houston's most famous in-law manages a perfect balance of qualities onstage. He's alternately gruff and gentlemanly, unprecticable and laser-focused, humble and confident. It's impossible to take your eyes off him.

Singer Bridget Kelly was a solid sub for Alicia Keys during the still-gorgeous Empire State Of Mind. Young Jeezy took over halfway through the evening and turned the venue into a rump-shaking, wild-n'-out party. It was energetic but overlong and quickly dwindled into a (hot) mess.

Jigga returned -- not a moment too soon -- with a set that included Dirt Off Your Shoulder, a rapid-fire medley (Fiesta, Excuse Me Miss, La-La-La) and a quick chastising of the front rows for not feeling his groove.

"You can stand your (expletive) ass up," he said amid cheers. There's no sitting at a Jay-Z concert. Indeed. If the criminally catchy refrain of set closer Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) didn't have you at full attention, something was wrong.

Opener Trey Songz has an emotive voice that could be intriguing with the right material. Alas, he offered stock R&B loverboy fluff. His brief set's most engaging moment was an all-too-brief rock riff.

For now, Songz seems content uttering, "Say aah!" And why not? It seemed to send female fans into orbit (and may have thrown out a few hips.)

Photos here:
Jay-Z Toyota Center Houston, TX

(video courtesy of caj128 & angie040404)

Jay-Z's BP3 2010 Tour dates:

Feb 23 Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
Feb 25 New Orleans, LA - New Orleans Arena
Feb 27 Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena
Feb 28 Greensboro, NC - Greensboro Coliseum Complex
Mar 02 New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
Mar 03 Washington, DC - Verizon Center
Mar 05 Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun
Mar 06 East Rutherford, NJ - Izod Center
Mar 07 Norfolk, VA - Scope Arena
Mar 11 Boston, MA - TD Garden
Mar 12 Uniondale, NY - Nassau Coliseum
Mar 14 Detroit, MI - The Palace of Auburn Hills
Mar 16 Pittsburgh, PA - Mellon Arena
Mar 18 Chicago, IL - United Center
Mar 19 St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center
Mar 20 Indianapolis, IN - Conseco Fieldhouse
Mar 22 Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
Mar 24 San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion
Mar 26 Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center

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