Gig Review: Jay-Z - O2 Arena, London ✭✭✭✭


O2 Arena, London
Review by Christina Benneworth

Thursday 10th October 2013: After touring with Kanye West and Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z finally hits London for his solo Magna Carta Holy Grail tour. And I can assure you he can definitely provide enough entertainment without help from his friends.

With a set list that would make any Jay-Z fan happy, personally I will always prefer Jay-Z's older material. Tactically the set list was perfect.

Opening with the Intro of ‘Higher’ and jumping straight in to ‘U Don’t Know’, the audience is going crazy. With no opening act; Jay-Z never normally has one, I can imagine there were quite a few people who had been waiting hours for the show to start. No one could be seen holding back.

 I liked the diversity from his old tracks to songs from Magna Carta Holy Grail; clearly the audience were loving all his material, and most knowing every word to his newer material. Magna Carta Holy Grail is Jay-Z first official number one album in the UK and I’m not sure even he can believe the reception his new material is getting from the crowd.  

He performed ‘Beach Is Better’ and had to take it back to the beginning just to please the audience. The crazy beat from ‘Tom Ford’ had the whole of O2 arena clapping. Jay-Z touched on Watch The Throne, by performing snippets from ‘N***as in Paris’ and ‘No Church In The Wild’.  

With Jay-Z taking a rather long intermission, it was a chance for Timberland to show off his talents. Jay-Z brought Timberland along for the tour for his resident DJ. If you know a little about Timberland you would know that this guy can produce some crazy out of this world music. And I felt a little honoured to be hearing a master at work, using a loop machine we were treated to some clever beats. He also touched on Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me A River’, Missy Elliot’s ‘Get Your Freak On’, as well as some of his new material from his upcoming album. Get ready for some serious beats.

Jay-Z finished the show with an encore, a six song encore, including his massive hit ‘Empire State of Mind’, bringing a touch of New York to London. ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A), an old school song, great crowd pleaser. Finishing the night off with ‘Young Forever’, not sure I would have picked this song to finish on, but still a great song.

What I like about watching Jay-Z live is that it is only ever about the music. The production is so minimal that you can only ever concentrate on the man himself, and why wouldn’t you want to. From perfect flow to his extreme stage presence, Jay-Z communicates with a vast audience and gives other artists a lesson on how-to -do hip-hop, the way hip-hop was meant to be. 

Every time I see Jay-Z I’m surprised about how humble and honoured he is to be up on stage in front of thousands of people. Jay-Z quite simply is a great performer.

Four stars ✭✭✭✭


Thu 3 Oct-13                 UK, Manchester Arena
Fri 4 Oct-13                  UK, Manchester Arena
Sun 6 Oct-13                Ireland, Dublin O2 Arena
Tue 8 Oct-13                 UK, Birmingham NIA Arena
Thu 10 Oct-13               UK, London O2 Arena
Fri 11 Oct-13                 UK, London O2 Arena
Sat 12 Oct-13                UK, London O2 Arena
Mon 14 Oct-13              UK, London O2 Arena
Thu 17 Oct-13               France, Paris, Bercy
Fri 18 Oct-13                 France, Paris, Bercy
Sun 20 Oct-13               Switzerland, Zurich Hallenstadion
Mon 21 Oct 13              Belgium, Antwerp, Sportpaleis
Wed 23 Oct-13              Norway, Oslo Spektrum
Fri 25 Oct-13                 Sweden, Stockholm, Globe
Sun 27 Oct-13               Germany, Hamburg O2 World
Mon 28 Oct-13              Germany, Cologne Lanxess Arena
Tue 29 Oct-13               Netherland, Amsterdam Ziggo Dome

Tickets for UK dates are on sale now priced at London £70, £55, £40, Regionally £65, £50, £37.50 (subject to per-ticket charge plus order processing fee) and are available from

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