Jay-Z is an icon for a reason; he is a businessman, a sports agent and a world-class entertainer who has had 13 No. 1 albums on the Billboard Charts. On Friday, Jay-Z brought every ounce of star power he had to the stage of the Bryce Jordan Center, thrilling a packed arena. The concert, the final stop on his “Magna Carter World Tour,” was loud and rowdy, jam-packed with hit songs, and, like the performer himself, larger than life.
The night kicked off just after 8 p.m. with DJ Jus Ske getting the less-than-full crowd pumped up by playing a mix of songs from artists such as Drake, Kanye West and Beyoncé, lending the Bryce Jordan Center a dance club air.
After about an hour of anticipation, Jay-Z took the stage to an earsplitting roar of approval. Dressed in a black T-shirt, black jacket and black jeans with a gold chain as thick as a rope hanging from his neck, he launched into his song “U Don’t Know” off his album “The Blueprint.” After his opening number, the rap superstar shrugged off his jacket, introduced hip-hop music producer and entourage member Timbaland, and then excited the Penn State audience with, “It’s the last night of the world tour, and I just wanna have fun with y’all if that’s OK!”
Jay-Z’s set list included a wide range of new and old hits such as “99 Problems” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” but it was his most current songs such as “Holy Grail” and “No Church in the Wild” that received the biggest response from the audience. To introduce chart-topper “N - - - - - in Paris,” Jay-Z instructed security to stand down in order for the audience to stand on their chairs and dance in the aisles.
Some of the most fun and personal parts of the night came during the encore, when Jay-Z spent 10 minutes addressing the crowd and calling out particular people in the audience. He got the entire arena to sing “Happy Birthday” to a fan, took the time to read the signs in the audience, signed someone’s CD, and from one very generous fan, he accepted a check for $500 made out to his Shawn Carter Foundation.
The encore included songs such as “Encore,” “Empire State of Mind,” “Hard Knock Life” and “Young Forever,” a tribute to Nelson Mandela. Jay-Z closed the night by addressing the crowd once more with an enthusiastic “Penn State, I’ll forever love you, peace and love!”
Jay-Z has proved that he is a music superstar, but with his concert, he also proved that he is a down-to-Earth performer who is not too big to appreciate his fans, have fun with an audience and be spontaneous. He is one music icon who sure knows how to put on an unforgettable show.