EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — Tuesday was a great night at the Izod Center. But if you had seen Jay-Z and Lil Wayne doing their more up-to-date material in concert before, the Power 105.1 Powerhouse concert wasn't a night you'll be talking about for years to come.
The onstage pairing of Jay-Z and Lil Wayne didn't happen as Weezy had promised it would, and fans missed the opportunity to see Hov and the Birdman Jr. do "Swagger Like Us" and "Mr. Carter" onstage together for the first time.
The hope for that collaboration began to fade when Wayne played "Mr. Carter" as his second selection. He appeared onstage at about 8:50 p.m., over an hour before Jay's 10 p.m. start time. No way in the world Hov was going out that early. No way. Sure enough, Wayne started the song behind the mic stand. He grabbed the mic and came closer to the crowd at the part that comes right before Jay's verse, but there was no stir behind him, except from his live band. The New Orleans superstar threw up the Roc-A-Fella sign, and after a bar with no Jay, Wayne actually started rapping the the line in which the Brooklyn goliath tells his "heir" to go further in the game than he did. And just like that, the dream was over. No Jay and Wayne together.
That's not to say the two didn't make the Izod shake individually. Wayne has fully crossed over into rock-star mode. He hasn't looked like your average rapper in years, but Tuesday, it was obvious he's fully evolved into hip-hop's rock-and-roll poster boy. He even sported a flannel shirt and Chuck Taylors.
"Say, 'Yeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!' " he roared at the top of "Got Money," a few songs into his set. It was his most energetic play. He and his artist Mac Mayne ran back and forth across the stage, waving their arms and telling the crowd to go "this-a-way" and "that-a-way." But no one was going to leave their seats. Everyone was standing fixated on Wayne.
After Wayne said the universally known lines about the roof being on fire, he told his fans, "We don't need no water 'cause we got the fireman." There was an explosion of audible adoration when the beat for "Fireman" kicked in.
Later he spoke to the women. "Ladies, you wanna taste something sweet?" This led to "Lollipop." During one of the more naughty parts of the song, he lay flat on his back, legs bent, singing into the mic. Then he went for the guitar.
Back in position at the mic stand, he teased "Can't Believe It" before a full-on rendition of "Comfortable." Wasn't too much Wayne guitar playing, but the band had his back.
"This song is dedicated to every police out there," he noted before his next selection. "I love police, especially female officers." Bobby Valentino then came out for "Mrs. Officer."
Before "Misunderstood," he expressed the importance of voting in the upcoming national election.
"Y'all ready to rock? Let's rock," he said, before shedding his flannel shirt and getting wilder for "I'm Me." "A Milli" was his closer. No shirt, just unabashed wildness as his dreads swung, and he moved the crowd.
Jay-Z brought his 12 years of hits with him and wasn't shy about trumpeting his hard work and success, as DJ AM played his records. Toward the end of the concert, Hov went up to the DJ booth to give the crowd snippets of hits such as " '03 Bonnie and Clyde" and "Crazy in Love." After he told AM he didn't want to hear the latter, Beyoncé walked out to "Single Ladies."
B didn't sing, but she and her two backup dancers performed some sexy moves to the new single. The song ended with Mrs. Hova holding up a diamond ring.
"Damn," Jay said. "I don't know what the f--- to play after that."
Jay came down from DJ booth for "Big Pimpin'." AM didn't have to do much work; Lucky Lefty let the crowd do most of the record themselves, a cappella.
Jigga did plenty of rapping, though. There was a lot from American Gangster, including "Pray," "Blue Magic" and "Roc Boys."
"Who's registered to vote?" he asked the crowd. "I'm not telling y'all what to do. I'm telling you what I'm doing. I'm voting for Barack Obama, that's what I'm doing."
Monsters such as "PSA," "Give It to Me," "Show Me What You Got," and "Dirt off Your Shoulder" came throughout the night.
"It feels good to be home, baby," Jay said before shouting out various, random members of the audience. "Don't take it for granted. November 4, make sure to vote."
He also cautioned voters to bring iPods and water in case of long lines at the polls.
Openers D-Block came out very early in the night. The crew's most visible member, Jadakiss, came out during Ne-Yo's set for "Right by Your Side." Ne-Yo also brought out Plies for "Bust It Baby," and the Southerner received a thunderous applause. Later, Fabolous came out with Ne-Yo for "Make Me Better."