By Rob Markman
There’s nothing like opening night. As solo artists, Jay-Z and Kanye West have consistently raised the bar for quality in hip-hop, as a tandem the expectations are through the roof. The duo already released Watch the Throne perhaps the most exciting album of the year and tonight they embark on one of 2011’s most anticipated tours.
First stop; Atlanta, Georgia; Philips Arena to be exact. MTV News and RapFix made the trek to the dirty south and will give you the play-by-play from the first night of Jay-Z and Kanye’s tour. You are now watching the throne!
8:00 pm: Atlanta is looking beautiful tonight. Dudes dressed sharp, ladies looking sexy. The crowd is still filing in, slow jams playing in Philips Arena. Don’t know what time the show will start. Are there any opening acts?
8:20 pm: We’re getting close. The house just announced: “10 minutes to The Throne” over the arena’s P.A. system. ATL is buzzing with excitement right now.
9:00 pm: Lights go low. Kanye and Jay are on two separate platforms that rise on two different ends of the arena. First song: “HAM.” The sound is shaky. Jay’s timing is off, something is wrong with his earpiece. This is epic, though.
9:10 pm: Jay stops the music and says, “Can you please turn my ear up so I can hear ATL?” The crowd goes nuts. They finish “Who Gon Stop Me Acapella.” A TRUE showman!
9:16 pm: The Throne is tearing through “Otis.” I thought they’d close with this. We in for a NIGHT! “Welcome to the Jungle” is next.
9:22 pm: “Got To Have It” went off well, Jay and Ye bounced off each other perfectly. Now Kanye and Jay are formally introducing themselves. Jay goes into “Where I’m Fron” from Vol. 1. Wooooooow! Kanye exits stage.
9:28 pm: Jay-Z exits after doing a few solos. In comes Kanye, “La la laaaaa wait till I get my money right.” ATL is ROCKING NOW!
9:36 pm: My dream set list was kinda on point, “Jesus Walks,” the “Diamonds” remix and we’re back to a Jay solo portion.
9:42 pm: “Whooo gon’ run this town tonight?” The Throne is on one right now while the crowd sings Rihanna’s vocals. On screen, footage of a dramatic cop car chase is playing.
9:46 pm: “I’ma need to see ya f—-in’ hands at the concert.” It’s “Monster” time. Ye got on some tight leather pants, the soles of his Air Yeezys are glowing in the dark. He is in rockstar mode tonight.
9:51 pm: Kanye started doing “Power.” All of the Philips Arena is doing the power clap, then Yeezy whispers something to Jay and he exits the stage. Hmmmm……
9:59 pm: The Throne slow it down and do “New Day.” This joint is far too deep, they have to take a seat for this one. Wonder if Bey will come out and rub the belly! Baby Carter gonna be fresh to death, though.
10:08 pm: “Like we always do about this time” … Kanye is doing “Good Life” right now. It’s turned up in here. Everyone is dancing, singing and having a great time.
10:11 pm: Ooooooh ATL, you guys like “Empire State of Mind” too. I feel at home now, “From New Yooooooork.” Amazing that the Dirty South is rocking to this.
10:30 pm: Jay has exited the stage, Kanye is doing a solo set on an elevated stage in the middle of the arena … “Runaway,” “Heartless,” Stronger.” He changed too, wearing an ILL bomber jacket. I want one! Maybe for Christmas, haaaa!
10:34 pm: A hooded HOV is back on the opposite side of the arena on the second raised platform. “On to the Next One.”
10:40 pm: Kanye came back out to “Touch the Sky” wearing a tribal type jacket, with a leather kilt and leather pants underneath. Wonder if that’s gonna catch on in the ’hood like the shutter shades?
10:47 pm: “On the canopy my stamina be, enough for Pamela Anderson Lee, MTV Jam of the Week.” Thanks for the shout-out HOV. ATL singing Pimp C’s verse acapella. Rest in peace to THE PIMP!
10:53 pm: Kanye tells Jay every time he tries “Big Pimpin’ ” he runs into a “Gold Digger,” then he asks Jay for advice. His response? “If you havin’ girl problems I feel bad for you son!” These guys are having a ball on stage right now.
10:57 pm: The Throne go back into their WTT album. Today’s Friday, “No Church for the Wild,” not today folks. The video montage on the screen shows baptisms and other religious clips.
11:04 pm: “One song and ONE SONG ONLY.” Maaaaaaannn “N—as in Paris” sounds better in the stadium than it does in the club!!! That sh– craaaaaaazy!
11:07 pm: That was sooooooooo nice, that was sooooooo nice. The Throne is doin’ it twice. “Start that sh– over,” Jay says. More “N—as in Paris.”
11:10 pm: And that’s all she wrote, ATL. “Sh–, these n—as was live than a motherf—er,” says Kanye. “I dunno Jay if ATL is ready for us to go.”
11:14 pm: Of course it’s not done. Jay didn’t do “Encore.” Crowd is chanting “Hova, Hova, Hova,” and then “Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy.”
11:15 pm: “We were just two young men with a dream from Chicago and Brooklyn … and we “Made it in America.” The lights go in the air – cell phones and lighters.
11:22 pm: Every time you think it’s the last song, The Throne KEEP ON! “I Love You So.” Sounds real rocked out.
11:25 pm: “Peace ATL, thanks for all the love, goodnight,” Jay-Z says. Thanks for rocking with RapFix and MTV News y’all! Time to find an after party!