‘I Just Wanna Love U (Give It To Me)’ 5:45
‘I Know/Allure’ 14:45
As the photos of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks streamed by on the screen behind him, Jay-Z made the evening’s final plea. “Make some noise for everybody who lost their lives so we can live ours,” he said before “Young Forever,” crystalizing his message for the “Answer The Call” benefit at Madison Square Garden last night. For a superstar that is so well known for being inspirational and aspirational – “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man” – the concert, which also served as a rollout for the excellent “Blueprint 3” album, was a rare public showcase of Jay’s tender side. The pairing of the classic “Hard Knock Life” and the new “Young Forever” showed a shift in his world view from strictly personal to broader concerns, which is also part of what made the benefit so special, as all proceeds from the concert will go to the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund.
The two-hour show was dazzling, both in star power and Jay’s nimble delivery (and it can be relived on Fuse, which broadcasted the concert live. But some choices left some interesting questions – yes, aside from “John Mayer?” – such as why Rihanna didn’t return to do her duet with Jay “Umbrella” or why Beyonce didn’t return to do their duets “Bonnie and Clyde” or “Crazy in Love.” Maybe they’re saving those for next year’s benefit? Nevertheless, Pharrell may have summed up reaction best, saying, “This is the birthplace of hip-hop, y’all birthed a new king.” Thanks to Dave Marcus.