Jay-Z wearing "all black everything" at PSU. Photo by Andy Colwell.

Jay-Z wearing "all black everything" at PSU. Photo by Andy Colwell.

Talking blues
Jay-Z says he bleeds blue on “Empire State of Mind,” referring to his penchant for the New York Yankees and NYC. On Oct. 9, Hova’s fans bled blue for another team: the Nittany Lions.  Hip-hop icon Jay-Z kicked off his Blueprint 3 tour in front of a sold-out crowd in State College. Lil Wayne’s tour, another major concert of 2009, also began in Pennsylvania.

At the beginning of his set, Jay-Z ascended from an elevator at the Bryce Jordan Center and performed “Run This Town” sans Kanye West and Rihanna. (West held a concert at PSU on Oct. 28, 2005.)  “Penn State, what’s up,” Jigga interpolated during “Run This Town.”  Jay-Z then took a break from his performance to ask the audience if PSU’s football team would beat the Eastern Illinois Panthers on Oct. 10. (The Nittany Lions pounded the Panthers 52-3.)

Jigga’s supporting cast
Singer Bridget Kelly, a new signee of Roc Nation, filled in for Alicia Keys during the performance for the NYC anthem and new single, “Empire State of Mind.” Memphis Bleek, a longtime Jay-Z collaborator, worked the stage as Jigga’s hype man. Another recent Roc Nation signee, rapper J. Cole, also joined Jay-Z on stage for the up-tempo track “Star is Born.” The crowd clapped in unison during the song. “I know they’re some stars out there,” Jigga told the audience.

Not surprisingly, the audience also threw up the diamond-shaped Roc-A-Fella sign throughout the night. After taking everyone down memory lane with classics, such as “Show Me What You Got,” “99 Problems,” “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” the rapper/businessman/ philanthropist wrapped up the night with the calm, celebratory and reflective “Young Forever.” To set the mood right, the crowd lit up the dim arena, holding lighters in the air. Jay-Z will be 40 years young on Dec. 4.

J. Cole opened up the show with his solo set at 7:55 p.m., performing songs including “Lights Please.” Hipster rapper Wale took the stage the next. The Roc Nation affiliate covered some songs from A Tribe Called Quest and delivered his new originals: “Chillin’,” “Mirrors” and “Pretty Girls,” a track he said he performed at the 2009 BET Hip Hop Awards. The hip-rock group N.E.R.D was the last opener. Pharrell, Shay and new singer Rhea (Chad wasn’t there) brought oomph to the stage with songs, such as “Rock Star” “Spaz,” “Everyone Nose” and “Soldier.”

 The concert was epic.

—Written by Leon Laing and edited by Maurice Boyer

4 Responses to “Takeover”

  1. 1 Jen Laing October 24, 2009 at 3:04 am

    Very good story on Jay…….well written as always! I am so glad you got a chance to attend. Seems like it was a once in a lifetime show!!

    -Luv Always, your biggest fan,

  1. 1 Beanie vs. Jay « vigoronline Trackback on November 7, 2009 at 1:17 pm
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