Jay-Z and Kanye West at the United Center Wednesday. (Scott Strazzante/Tribune )
It's here! The biggest concert to hit Chicago since, well, the last time Jay-Z was in town rocked the United Center on Wednesday (with another to come Thursday!). Because moments like these are rare—how often do we get to watch the world's two greatest rappers share a stage?—I've documented the the show for your reading pleasure.
The dress code tonight is "dress to impress or don't even try." A surprising number of women have accepted the "look as classy as you can wearing super-high heels and lingerie" challenge--and there aren't many complaints from the dudes in attendance. Everyone looks really ... happy.
Nothing yet. Come on, guys.
Nothing yet. REALLY?!?!
FINALLY! The gents open with "H.A.M." and the place EXPLODES. There are two opposing hydraulic stages. With the projections, it looks like they're standing on aquariums. Forgive my lack of patience before, Hov and 'Ye. This is AMAZIIIIIING!
"H.A.M" goes into "Who Gon' Stop Me Now" which goes into "Otis" (where the crowd officially stopped pretending like they weren't here to dance themselves stupid) into "Welcome to the Jungle." The guy a few seats over already is sweating from grooving. I'm not too far behind him.
We've entered the solo hits portion. In doing so, we learn about the fan base in attendance. Jay starts with early hit "Where I'm From" (small reaction) then "Jigga What, Jigga Who" (big reaction). Kanye takes over. I should mention he's wearing a leather kilt, shouldn't I? Yeah, he is. Anyway, "Can't Tell Me Nothin'" into "Flashing Lights" into "Jesus Walks" elicits nothing short of a rager. He's playing a home game, and he knows it.
Things that have occurred: A woman asking me what "that diamond hand thing" is. A man easily over 300 pounds doing the best Dougie I've ever seen. Derrick Rose almost dancing (I think). They're playing "Monster." I am not complaining.
We have our first emotional moment during "New Day" on the line "And I’ll never let his mom move to LAKnowin’ she couldn’t take the pressure now we all pray". People around me got choked up during the song. Not me though! Now if you'll excuse me, I seem to have something in my eyes...
It's Kanye time, y'aaaaaaallllll. Mr. West hit the "Runaway" - "Heartless" double play. The giant cube made it's appearance again, and Kanye stood tall with the scene lit in red. This is a rock show.
A fun back-and-forth takes place between the two: After "Big Pimpin'", Kanye remarks "Man, I always wanted to live Big Pimpin', meet me a wild girl. Well, I did. "Golddigger" drops. After that, Jay says "Man, that sounds bad. Know what? i've never had that problem" "99 Problems" drops. The crowd begs for mercy. I'm officially standing on my seat.
We're going for it! After performing "Ni**as in Paris" 7 consecutive times (For the slow kids, that's in a row) the Throne decides to go for the gusto and break the record with an 8th performance. We've all said the phrase "That sh*t cray" no less than 54 times (I tried to keep count) Jay asks that everyone leave their seats and get as close as possible for the record attempt. We crush it. What. A. Show.