Gig Review: Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch The Throne, O2 Arena, London

Jay-Z and Kanye West
Watch The Throne – O2 Arena, London

Sunday 20th May: After releasing the collaborative studio album Watch The Throne in August of last year, the tour for the album comes to the UK. The success of the album, the talent of two of the biggest hip hop artists in the world, only meant one thing; the night will be one of the best live hip hop shows you may ever see. Clarified by Kanye West who says at some point in the show ‘I guarantee this will be the best concert of your life’.  

The lights go down, the music for the first song of the night comes in ‘H•A•M.  Jay-Z and Kanye West are both at different ends of the arena, Kanye on the stage and Jay-Z on a podium at the end of the floor area, a few minutes in to the song, the podiums rise, elevating the artists and also giving an opportunity to see some pretty outstanding videos of sharks and Dobermans that appear beneath their feet, still on the podiums the duo performed ‘Who Gon’ Stop Me’.
Jay-Z then disappears, and on the main stage a massive American flag appears, both the artists are then on the stage, for ‘Otis’, which was a single from the album. Then ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and Gotta Have It’.

Throughout the rest of the concert, Kanye and Jay-Z provide a mix of songs from the album and individually they provide songs from their own extensive catalogue of music.
Jay-Z is the first to perform some of his classic songs. A clear pro in the arena, he knows how to work the crowd, flawless skill. Throughout the night we get to hear ‘Where I’m From’, ‘Jigga What, Jigga Who’, ‘On To The Next One’ and the ever popular ‘Empire State Of Mind’.

The reaction from the audience when Kanye performs a selection of his songs goes to show just how popular, successful and awesome his songs are. ‘Power’ provided some amazing lighting and special effects. An oldie in the form of the song ‘All Falls Down’, which gets a massive audience reaction, making it hard for Kanye to hear the music. Other songs were ‘Jesus Walks’, ‘Diamonds from Sierra Leone’ and ‘Stronger’. The songs that provided the biggest screams from the packed arena were ‘Good Life’ and ‘Touch the Sky’.

A surprise for the audience on this night was the added appearance from Rihanna, who happened to be in London and at the concert. Normally Jay-Z and Kanye have no other artists on the stage with them, and in all fairness they don’t need anyone else; the concert is epic enough. However Rihanna provided her female vocals to ‘Run This Town’ and ‘All of the Lights’. It was an extra treat, and seeing Rihanna clearly made the crowd happy.

At a certain part in the concert Jay-Z is finishing off performing ‘Big Pimpin’, when Kanye comes back on to the stage, talking about how he always wished he could perform the song, but every time he tried a certain something would happen, queue the music for one of Kanye’s biggest hits ‘Gold Digger’. You can see a clear connection between the two hip hop legends and they bounce off one another. After another short conversation we were the lead in to Jay-Z’s ’99 Problems’.

Coming to the end of the concert, with images in the background of violence and riots, one of my favourite songs on the album ‘No Church in the Wild’ the pure message and performance of this song gave me goose bumps. The last song of the night was brought in with Jay-Z saying ‘there is one city we haven’t taken you to yet’, queue the music for ‘N****s In Paris’, the crowd simply went crazy, it would be hard to imagine anyone sitting down to this performance, they performed the song twice and then left the stage.

At this point a few people had start to leave the arena, thinking that was the end of the show, but in this case that would have been wrong, after shouting, cheering and clapping; Jay-Z and Kanye returned to the stage for an outstanding encore, one of the best I’ve ever witnessed. In total by the end of the concert, Jay-Z and Kanye had performed ‘N****s in Paris’ a total of six times. The crowd were going nuts, I can’t describe the energy that had filled the room, it was simply unbelievable, and I’m glad to have been part of the experience.

Going back to Kanye’s statement of ‘this will be the best concert of your life’, in my opinion he could be completely correct, I can’t imagine anyone topping this concert, with the music, the graphics, the lights and the fire, unbelievably incredible. If you have tickets to the concert in the next few weeks I would start getting excited, because I promise, you will have an amazing night, filled with live hip hop from two of the best. And if you don’t have tickets and are fans of both Jay-Z and Kanye West, I strongly suggest you try and get some.

Review by Christina Benneworth

Listings Information
Tuesday 22nd May – The O2 Arena, London
Monday 11th June – Manchester Arena, Manchester
Tuesday 12th June – Manchester Arena, Manchester
Wednesday 13th June – LG Arena Birmingham, Birmingham
Thursday 21st June – Motorpoint Arena Sheffield, Sheffield
Friday 22nd June – LG Arena Birmingham, Birmingham
Friday 8th June – The O2 Arena, Dublin, Ireland
Saturday 9th June – The O2 Arena, Dublin, Ireland
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