And you thought there were no more seminal moments in hip-hop.
Well, OK, this apparently legendary Jay-Z performance took place in June across Ye Olde Pond at the Glastonbury Festival--which I confess I knew next to nothing about before coming across this year-in-review video on The Guardian's site--and not in an American stadium of note, like, say, Madison Square Garden. But it caught my harried attention because the booking of Jay-Z for the fest was considered a bad bet and, even worse in stuffy Britain, poor form.
When Jay-Z takes the stage, however, the mood of mild bemusement engendered by [Amy] Winehouse suddenly switches to one of almost palpable anticipation: before he's even played a note, there's an electric sense of event around his set that suggests anyone who bet on him being booed off is going to end up out of pocket.
[Question: Can anyone imagine Jay-Z being booed off any American stage, regardless of the venue or the fest's theme?]
And so it proves. The audience is almost immediately won over. There's a gripping intro film that juxtaposes Noel Gallagher's pronouncements of doom regarding the rapper's suitability for Glastonbury with, among other things, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il: this seems to be pitching it a bit high, but there's no denying its rabble-rousing qualities. Then, there is an unexpected sardonic opening cover of Wonderwall, followed by a ferocious version of 99 Problems. It's brilliantly staged, utterly thrilling and it makes Gallagher look a bit of a berk.
My new New Year's resolution: must use "berk" in a sentence.
Later, the review's author, Alexis Petridis, quotes Jay-Z as saying to the crowd, "I heard you didn't like hip-hop." Guess he heard wrong--just like that berk Gallagher.