Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jay-Z BP3 San Jose, CA At HP Pavilion Concert Review

As reported by Jim Harrington / San Jose Mercury News

One song into his set Wednesday night (March 24), Jay-Z was already flashing that killer smile.

"I like how this is going," he beamed to the capacity crowd at HP Pavilion in San Jose. "We're going to take this all the way to the top." And he proceeded to do just that, moving from the solid opener "Run This Town" to the even-better "On to the Next One," both of which hail from last year's album "The Blueprint 3."

As for getting to the top, let's just say Jay-Z has been there so many times it's probably where he gets his mail delivered.

With each passing year, Jay-Z gives us new reasons to call him king. He's sold some 40 million records worldwide, won 10 Grammy Awards and is part owner of the New Jersey Nets (hey, some day that might seem like a good idea). He owns the popular clothing line Rocawear, is worth a half-billion dollars and is married to Beyonce, one of the world's most popular and beautiful entertainers.

"The Blueprint 3" became his 11th No. 1 album, setting a record for most chart-topping platters for a solo artist (topping the King of Rock, Elvis Presley).

One thing he's never been able to claim, however, is the distinction of being a consistently great concert artist. Bay Area fans have seen Jay-Z turn in many mediocre performances over the years, but he was downright brilliant during his previous local visit, a co-headlining tour with Mary J. Blige at Oracle Arena roughly two years ago.

Jay-Z wasn't nearly as focused or as entertaining on Wednesday, but still turned in a pretty enjoyable show.

Following a set by overrated R&B crooner Trey Songz, Jay-Z cut a dramatic entrance as he was lifted by a platform through the stage floor. As his 10-member band, complete with a three-piece horn section, snapped into action, Jay-Z started dropping the difficult tongue-twisters everyone in the house seemed to know by heart.

He performed in front of a sleek, uncluttered stage design, which consisted mainly of a video backdrop cut to look like the Manhattan skyline. The live band paid big dividends early and often, propelling the beats with two percussionists and flexing its horn-section muscle on "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)." Jay-Z's marginally talented sidekick Memphis Bleek — aka,"the Ringo Starr of rap" — joined him on vocals on several numbers, including crowd favorites "U Don't Know" and "99 Problems."

Right as things were rolling along smashingly, Young Jeezy arrived, a la Jay-Z, riding the elevator up through the stage floor. That was really an amazing feat of hydraulics, given the amount of heavy metal Jeezy wore around his neck. The headliner then departed to let Jeezy do his own set.

Talk about throwing a monkey wrench into the gears — going from Jay-Z's incomparable flow to Jeezy's rough ride is, to say the least, jolting. Jeezy used part of his time to tell us how important it is to proudly represent our hometowns. "I put on for my city," sang the Georgia rapper wearing a Chicago White Sox hat.

Jay-Z returned to perform a few really meaty tunes, including "My President is Black" and "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," then announced that the main set was done. The problem was, Jay-Z himself had only been onstage for about an hour. He then sent the show into what he dubbed "overtime" and performed another half-hour of music, none of which was memorable. He clearly had no game plan drawn up for OT.

Still, Jay-Z can get away with a lot simply through his charisma. Plus, it doesn't hurt when the crowd fawns at your every move.

It must be good to be king.

Getty Images
Corbis Images
San Jose Mercury News - Jay-Z BP3 San Jose Concert
Bay Area's Movin 997 radio station set 1
Bay Area's Movin 997 radio station set 2

more fan shot footage below.

(video courtesy of kode701 & Notoriousted)

Jay-Z's BP3 2010 Tour dates:

Mar 26 Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center
Mar 27 Las Vegas, NV - The Pearl

Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival appearance:
Apr 16 Indio, CA - Empire Polo Club

Jay-Z European Tour Dates:

Jun 4 Rock am Ring, Germany
Jun 5 Rock im Park, Germany
Jun 6 Paris Bercy, France
Jun 7 Manchester, UK - Manchester Evening News Arena
Jun 9 Birmingham, UK - LG Arena
Jun 11 Isle of Wright, UK - Seaclose Park
Jul 2 Eurockeennes Belfort, France
Jul 4 London, UK - Hyde Park - Wireless Festival
Jul 9 Oxygen, Ireland
Jul 10 Frauenfeld, Switzerland - Openair Frauenfeld
Jul 11 T in the Park, Scotland

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