UNCASVILLE, Connecticut — [artist id=”1269″]Jay-Z’s[/artist] rep says that the MC’s recent run of dates isn’t really a proper tour, but it doesn’t matter — fans always come out to see Hov because, like Michael Jordan in his prime, there’s always a chance that they’ll see something that hasn’t been done before.
One thing fans didn’t see at the Mohegan Sun casino resort in Connecticut on Friday night was [artist id=”1801883″]Ciara[/artist], who’d opened other shows on this short string of dates but cancelled due to an unspecified illness. Instead, they got a set from [artist id=”2017563″]Lupe Fiasco[/artist] and a brief one from other tour opener [artist id=”1164800″]Fabolous[/artist].
The two got the crowd primed for Jay, who took the stage dressed all in black and wearing a T-shirt that said “D.O.A.” — which was also the name of song he opened with (a.k.a “Death of Auto-Tune,” the recently released track from his forthcoming Blueprint 3 LP ), followed with a triumphant “Show Me What You Got.”
Memphis Bleek came out onstage shortly after. “R.O.C., we running this rap sh–,” Jay said. “Tell me when you ready, Bleek.”
“I’m ready!” Jay’s longtime, loyal stage-right man answered.
They launched into the almost decade-old “U Don’t Know” which felt as crisp as it did when it first came out. “Blue Magic” followed, with fans yelling along with the lines, “Money over broads … f— Bush.” That transitioned neatly into a triumphant performance of Hov’s verse from Young Jeezy’s “My President” remix . A montage of pictures of President Obama filled the huge screen behind Jay while his band blared. Improvising, Jay shouted out, “I’m headed to C.T./ Anybody feel me?/ I like the energy.”
Hov later took it back to The Black Album for the rarely performed “Allure.” Midway through the record, the band switched up the beat and went into “Flashing Lights.” “That’s my favorite joint to perform, by the way,” he revealed to the audience after the song.
“Roc Boys” came next — followed by the guitar lick from the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” before transitioning into the beat for “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” Photos of Michael Jackson appeared on his screen as Jay paid the singer tribute, as he had in Chicago earlier in the week .
“Let’s not wait to mourn death, let’s celebrate life,” Jay urged the crowd. He went to tell the crowd that fans have given Michael Jackson a great outpouring of love since he died, which the King of Pop hadn’t gotten to see in recent years.
“I need y’all tonight. Let’s celebrate life,” Jay said.
Jay finished off the set strong with a series of gems: “Swagga Like Us,” “Jigga My N—a,” “N—a What, N—a Who (Originator 99),” “Big Pimpin’ ” (you could feel the floor shaking for that one), “Can I Get A …” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder.” Jay then said, “Peace and love,” and the stage went black.
It was obvious that the show wasn’t over, but the crowd kept chanting, “Hova!”
“I ain’t even gonna make y’all wait tonight,” he said, coming back onstage quickly. He told a story about how he was in Las Vegas recently and decided to rap the intro for Blueprint 3. He figured what happened in Vegas would stay in Vegas, but footage of his raps got out on the net (Jay did perform the same intro in Chicago), so since he figured everybody already heard the rhymes, he he wasn’t going to do them. Kidding! Of course he was going to say the lines that have been causing Game to call him out at concerts overseas .
“We talkin’ about real sh– or we talkin’ about rhymes?” he rapped. “Y’all talkin’ about millions or y’all just talkin’ about mines? … I ain’t talkin’ about Game, I ain’t talkin’ about Jimmy/ I ain’t talkin’ about Dame/ I’m talkin’ about real sh–, them people playin’/ What is you talkin’ about? I don’t know what y’all sayin’? … Ain’t nothin’ cool about carryin’ a strap, about worryin’ your moms and buryin’ your best cat/ Talkin’ about revenge …”
He stumbled for a split second, seemingly forgetting a line, but then went back in.
“Talkin’ about revenge/ While you carryin’ his casket/ All teary-eyed about to take it to a mattress … People keep talkin’ about how Hov left ’em flat/ Trying to rewrite history, let’s talk about facts/ Dame made millions, even Jaz made some scraps/ He could’ve made more, but he ain’t sign his contract/ And as far as street guys, I mean, we was dealin’ crack/That’s how the game goes, I don’t owe nobody jack/ Grown men want me to sit ’em on my lap/ But I don’t have a beard and Santa Claus ain’t black.”
A Roc medley came after, highlighted by “You, Me, Him and Her,” where Jay and Memph Bleek shouted out Beanie Sigel but, as always, mocked former Roc-A-Fella artist Amil. “Amil-lee-on, gone!”
Michael Jackson got another shout-out on “Give It To Me” — “Ladies love me long time like M.J.’s soul” — and then Jigga closed out with “Encore.”
“I hope the [gaming] tables are as good to me as you were,” he told the crowd before leaving.