Jay-Z made a triumphant return to the stage with his first of two sold-out shows at New York’s historic Carnegie Hall on Monday night (Feb. 6). Accompanied by a 36-piece orchestra, the new father entered in a white tuxedo jacket and black bow tie to a standing ovation. He kicked off the evening with “PSA” and “Thank You” before introducing the orchestra’s female conductor and segueing into “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love).”
Brooklyn’s own paid homage to his city with Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” and Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and referenced Gil Scott-Heron’s “New York Is Killing Me.” An elegant Alicia Keys held court with Hov for their Big Apple anthem “Empire State of Mind” and Jay joined his fellow New Yorker Nas for “N.Y. State of Mind.” Alicia returned to duet with Nas on “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That).”
“I didn’t think I was gonna make it through that one. That was tough,” Hov told concertgoers after performing “Glory,” his touching dedication to his daughter Blue Ivy Carter.
After changing into a more comfortable black jeans and tee, he delivered classics including “Big Pimpin'” and “Jigga” and brought out Roc Nation singer Bridget Kelly for “Young Forever.” Ninety minutes later, he made a grand exit through the balcony. Proceeds from the concert benefitted the United Way of New York City and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.