By: Brittany Rudyck
Photos By Levi Manchak
December 9th, 2017
EDMONTON – It had been nearly a decade since the last time Mr. Shawn Carter graced Edmonton with his mammoth presence; the nearly sold out audience at Rogers Place welcomed him accordingly. Jay-Z’s 4:44 tour stopped in Edmonton as one of his only four dates in Canada and everyone was on their feet in a mary jane haze to show respect for Brooklyn’s top export.
The 47 year old rapper’s charisma made the arena seem almost intimate as he bounced through a string of hits from his latest album, 4:44 to kick off the show. “Kill Jay-Z” was an abrupt choice for opening song, but he proved his prowess in transitioning between the more serious Shawn Carter songs to the lovable, fun favourites like “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”
He floated effortlessly around an octagon in the centre of the room reflecting the crowd’s rambunctious energy and fuelling us to take it even higher. “We’re only getting started, Edmonton,” he warned brazenly before tossing us into dynamic performances of “Dirt off your Shoulder,” “On to the Next One” and an especially wild “99 Problems.” Impressively cool lighting tricks gave the illusion that the mogul was simply a hologram, creating an otherworldly feel in moments.
We caught glimpses of his family during brief wardrobe change ups, like Blue Ivy being cast into a tranquil pool, presumably with a life jacket and for the purposes of learning to swim, and Beyoncé smiling on a jet ski.
Jay-Z was candid about his confirmed infidelity on the track “4:44” as well as with the crowd, revealing this tour will be one of the only times he performs the confessional track. He also paid tribute to Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, who committed suicide in July of this year, with the perfect song to end the night, “Encore.”
In a sea of club outfits and discreet and not so discreet drug use, we all got something from the near two hour performance, whether it be the satisfaction of seeing the mogul flow through over two decades of quality music or the place to dance and feel connected to everyone else in the large, but small at the same time, arena. Jay-Z’s ability to make it all seem magic made for one of the best shows of the year.Edmonton, Jay-Z, live review, Rogers Place