Jay-Z reopened the legendary Hollywood Palladium on Wednesday night with a standing-room only show. The $20 million newly renovated space was packed wall-to-wall with faithful fans who paid $150 each to see one of rap’s greatest perform live. DJ AM made his return to the stage spinning for Mr. Carter the entire show, alongside Jay’s 8-piece band, the Roc Boys.
The hip-hop superstar brought out a broad spectrum of celebrities including athletes, actresses, and musicians. Stars that flocked to see Jay included “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Ellen Pompeo, Hayden Panettiere, Angela and Vanessa Simmons, Tyrese, Lisa Raye, Sanaa Lathan, the entire Wayans family, Too $hort, and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Jordan Farmar, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, and Derek Fisher.
The crowd went wild when surprise guest T.I. came out to join the Jiggaman for “Swagga Like Us.” A photo of President Bush was plastered on the screen as he performed “Public Service Announcement,” and soon pictures of Jay’s candidate of choice, Barack Obama followed. “How many of ya’ll are voting for Obama?” Jay asked the crowd. It seemed the majority of the house had made up their minds: Obama it is.
In his black and gold peace sign T-shirt, black shades and jeans, and Roc-A-Fella chain, the rap mogul blessed the crowd with over 25 songs including oldies like “Jigga What, Jigga Who” and “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me),” to more recent hits like “I Know” and “Jockin’ Jay Z.” Hov “smoothed it out” during “Excuse Me Miss” by passing out a pricey bottle of Ace of Spades champagne to a lucky fan in the front row. His longtime friend and artist Memphis Bleek came out to do a few songs including “Is That Yo Chick?” He exited the stage and said goodnight, but then decided that the crowd deserved “the extended set,” which included “Big Pimpin'” and “Hard Knock Life.”
On a more serious note of the night, Jay shouted out DJ AM and Travis Barker, while remembering those who lost their lives in last month’s South Carolina plane crash. Continuing with the night’s theme of politics, the “‘hood’s Barack” asked how many people were voting for John McCain and expressed his thoughts on Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. “If I had to give the next president advice about homegirl, ‘You betcha’…” He then segued into “99 Problems.”
During the encore, Jay headed over to DJ AM and his laptop and hand-picked a few songs, doing a verse from each with crowd participation. He even selected two songs featuring his wife Beyoncé (“’03 Bonnie & Clyde” and “Crazy in Love”), but quickly moved on. After a 90-minute set, he exited the stage for the final time that evening ending with, “Get home safe. I appreciate every single person in here.”
“The last person to open this up was Frank. I consider myself Ol’ Brown Eyes, baby,” said the 39-year-old rapper in reference to Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, who opened the venue nearly 70 years ago. And who better to kick off the next 70 years than the Sinatra of our day, Shawn Carter?
–Jessica Washington in Hollywood
JAY-Z HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM SET LIST
1. “Say Hello” / “Hello Brooklyn”
2. “U Don’t Know” featuring Memphis Bleek
3. “Roc Boys (And the Winner Is…)”
6. “Can I Live”
7. “Blue Magic”
8. “Minority Report”
9. “Public Service Announcement”
10. “Swagga Like Us” featuring T.I.
11. “Jigga My Nigga”
12. “Jigga What, Jigga Who”
13. “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”
14. “Can I Get A…”
15. “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)”
16. “Show Me What You Got”
17. “I Know”
18. “Excuse Me Miss”
19. “Song Cry”
20. “Is That Yo Chick?”
21. “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
22. “A Billi”
23. “Jockin’ Jay-Z”
24. Medley with DJ AM
25. “Big Pimpin'”
26. “Hard Knock Life”