They played it 8 times. We set the record Chicago. We did it. Check out my video of the 8th and record setting “Paris” Thursday night at the United Center. Pictures, the set list (!), and a review after the jump!
Chicago, December 1st, 2011 @ the United Center
2. Who Gon’ Stop Me
4. Welcome to the Jungle
5. What You Need
6. Where I’m From (Jay-Z)
7. Jigga What, Jigga Who (Jay-Z)
8. Can’t Tell Me Nothin’ (Kanye West)
9. Flashin’ Lights (Kanye West)
10. Jesus Walks (Kanye West)
11. All Fall Down (Kanye West)
12. Diamonds from Sierra Leone Remix
13. Public Service Announcement (Jay-Z)
14. You Don’t Know (Jay-Z)
15. Run This Town
16. Monster (Kanye West)
17. Power (Kanye West)
18. Made in America
19. New Day
20. Hard Knock Life (Jay-Z)
21. Izzo (Jay-Z)
22. Empire State of Mind (Jay-Z)
23. Runaway (Kanye West)
24. Heartless (Kanye West)
25. Stronger (Kanye West)
26. On to the Next One (Jay-Z)
27. Dirt off your Shoulder (Jay-Z)
28. I Just Wanna Love You (Jay-Z)
29. That’s My Bitch
30. Good Life (Kanye West)
31. Touch the Sky (Kanye West)
32. All of the Lights (Kanye West)
33. Big Pimpin’ (Jay-Z)
34. Gold Digger (Kanye West)
35. 99 Problems (Jay-Z)
36. No Church in the Wild
37-44. N*ggas in Paris
As you see from the set list, 38 total songs from raps (currently) most powerful duo. Not having anyone open for “The Throne” was genius, as anticipation grew through the silence that was the first two hours, and focus zeroed in on what hometown hero Kanye West and rap legend Jay-Z would bring to Chicago in their second show in two days. They electrified the crowd, opening with H.A.M., the rappers standing on their own stages with a sea of people separating them. Exchanging verses and asking for more and more noise, the United Center was buzzing the way they would at a Blackhawks or Bulls home game.
Jay-Z was the first to perform a song not from the duos debut album, Watch the Throne, taking the Chicago crowd to his hometown, Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, New York. The energy was high from the beginning, and escalated another level when it was Kanye’s turn to take the stage by himself. Walking down a platform as the chorus to “Can’t tell me Nothin’” rang out, you could tell Yeezy was really taking in the moment. A career full of ups and downs, Chicago has always adored the man as if he were family. He wanted to make the night special and fun (and make sure everyone got their money’s worth), and did just that.
The two would continue to switch off the spot light, with one playing hype-man for the other, and coming together every couple songs to perform a hit they both had verses on. The crowd was most receptive to Kanye’s tracks, and amidst Ye’s pauses to take in the crowd noise, even Jay-Z chuckled a bit at the mania that surrounds his partner in Chicago.
A quick aside…If you read the set list, no, Jay-Z did not get booed off stage when he performed Empire State of Mind. Michael Jordan was quick to send a memo to the Bulls organization to make sure that song never plays in his arena again.
Day 2 of the Throne’s stop in Chicago was overall fantastic. Although the moment was special for Kanye (to be back in his hometown, mentions of his late mother, etc.), this was more about swagger than emotion. They were having fun on stage (They better have been since they played a song 8 times in a row…), really feeling the moment, and to be honest, really feeling themselves. Completely warranted. Coming in scared that the concert would be a showcase for all the Watch the Throne fanboys (and girls), I left having heard some of my favorite Jay-Z and Kanye West tracks, and happy that the two could still stand each other after almost a year of recording, touring, and more.
As they walked off stage, Hova proclaimed that he “love[d] this mother-fuckin’ city,” and Ye followed with “I am this mother-fuckin’ city.” Fitting. The Throne is hip hop right now. That’s undeniable.
All Photos by Jamie Vogenthaler