Jay Z & Justin Timberlake: Legends of Summer Tour (Live) [Review]
Vancouver, BC – July 31, 2013 marked the end of Vancouver’s first rainless month in 60 years. The day also signified the first time BC Place hosted an open-roof concert. That’s the kind of legendary shit you should expect when Justin Timberlake and Jay Z decide to roll through your city. After all, they are the Legends of Summer.
The concert unsurprisingly set in motion at around 9 o’clock, an hour later than planned. DJ Cassidy opened the tour, playing a mix of hip-hop cuts as the diverse crowd of 40,000 settled into their seats. Wearing color-coordinated outfits Jay Z – looking like he hasn’t changed since his Picasso shoot – and JT, in his signature fedora, finally showed face and launched into “Holy Grail”. The duo followed up with “I Just Wanna Love You”, having Timberlake replace Pharrell on the hook before he launched into Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”, which in turn gave way to Jay Z’s “Izzo”. It didn’t take long for the audience to realize that the concert was quickly turning into some sort of J-Squared’s Greatest Hits compilation.
Glowing in Roc red as the keeper of a 17-piece band, four back-up singers, and two enormous video screens, the stage was a vision. The layout reflected Timberlake’s persona, while Jay’s was through the Renaissance-era inspired art and natural life visuals that was projected on the screen. Acting as each other’s hype man, the two traded back and forth playing hits like “Senorita”, “Rock Your Body”, “On To The Next One”, and “Big Pimpin.” In an effort to avoid one upping each other, it was blatant that J-Squared was holding back their star-power.
Jay Z cruised through “99 Problems”, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”, and “Hard Knock Life” during the solo segment with his usual ‘best rapper alive’ poise. The end of each track was met with a proud round of applause and Jay basked in his glory, yet he seemed somewhat unassured of how well his performance was received. Maybe it was because the audience wasn’t so keen on throwing their diamond’s in the air that night; Jigga’s faithful fans played the minority. Justin used his solo moments to pull at the heart-stings of every fan present, dancing and crooning to more material from his most recent album, the 20/20 Experience. At one point he even broke into his own rendition of Juicy J’s “Bandz A Make Her Dance”. Jay has clearly been rubbing off on him.
When Jay returned, he finally acknowledged the crowd with a thank you for their part in Magna Carta‘s double platinum success. Performing “Tom Ford”, the itch for a MCHG live performance was finally relieved. By the time “N*ggas In Paris” was dropped and over, the stadium was shaking. Justin then joined him on stage, and together the two performed the much anticipated “Suit & Tie” and “Empire State of Mind” before ending the night with a “Young Forever” dedication to Trayvon Martin, featuring champagne and a charming display of their new found brotherhood.
Forty thousand people left the arena that night in awe because July 31st marked a rare experience; Legends of Summer is most likely going to be the best concert they ever had the opportunity to experience. Still, there was a thirst for more. Most will be eagerly waiting for another announcement of a concert filled with slick dance moves, chart-topping hits, and a sexy Timberlake, while others, a brand new concert with fresh tracks, a hyped crowd, and roc-a-stage HOV who’s presence ignites a movement of inspiration from beginning to end.
Photography by Jamie Sands