Stephen Giang

The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West)

Friday, December 16

Tacoma Dome

To the surprise of exactly no one, spectacle was the order


Feeding The Monster: Kanye Turns Diva, Jay-Z Basks In Our Love, Friday At The Tacoma Dome

Stephen Giang

The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West)

Friday, December 16

Tacoma Dome

To the surprise of exactly no one, spectacle was the order of the night Friday, when The Throne Inc. pulled into Tacoma. Even outside the T Dome, the event had provoked action and reaction: a radio station karaoke stage and pre-show platform with sponsors' personnel stood across the walkway from a herd of finger-wagging evangelicals with signs urging concert-goers to repent immediately or be engulfed in inevitable hellfire. Little did the churchies know how immediate our penance would come...

lames rose from turrets along the back of the stage in a line, projecting a heat that was felt immediately in the thirteenth row (and I was told later, up in the grandstands), and made Kanye's leather kilt (effective heat-protection for his undercarriage) make a bit more sense. Outside of the dazzling visuals (Dr. Evil laser lights; Intelligence-grade HD screens that projected every vain vein in Kanye's scalp; large stadium-jumbotron-paneled cubes with hydraulic lifts that lifted Ye and Jay twenty feel in the air), however, there weren't a whole lot of surprises. The two rapped like the best rappers alive, played a hit-saturated thirty-eight song set (if you count all five replays of "Ni**as In Paris"), and appeared like the caricatures of themselves they've become. Which, of course meant there was drama.

Stephen Giang

After performing "All Falls Down" (while the ever-cool Jay-Z rested back stage), Kanye West, the self-appointed martyr for all hard-working loudmouths, attempted to single out the front-row audience member who threw a business card on stage, saying "These cubes goin' twenty feet in the air, fam. We riskin' our lives up here, you can't be throwin' shit that we're gonna slip on." Of course, the clown that threw his business card(s) on stage is a tool, but Kanye classically overreacted, threatening to have the whole section ejected unless the guilty party rose their hand. People booed. So instead of laughing it off, and keeping the show rolling, Kanye handled it like a rookie teenage camp counselor, and, songs later, he was still digging himself out of the hole he had dug for himself in the crowd's (or at least my) eyes. Outside, the doom-criers claimed a momentary victory through death-by-uncomfortability.

With his lecture, Kanye made it feel like he was doing us a favor by allowing us access to him--like he didn't care to go out of his way to make sure we had a fun night: that was on us. He smiled a bit, but for the most part, there was a feeling of borderline resentment emanating from Ye after that. The 100000000 pixel screens behind the rap god broadcast his clenched-jaw expression clearly. He seemed mad at times, and it was perhaps his awareness of this that lead him to justify his personality, when he said later in the set (something like): "Be humble? How many times you hear that: Be humble? How often does somebody tell you to be great?" The fact that they're mutually exclusive in Ye's world is no surprise, nor is the fact that he threw a hissy, but conflict always looks more entertaining on paper (or in the papers), and it was kind of awkward in person.

Stephen Giang
Jay-Z, on the other hand, played the favored son, and we loved him for it. Reciting "Either love me, or leave me alone," at the close of The Black Album's "Public Service Announcement" was the closest he came to confrontation. It was a mutual love-fest throughout his set of solo material, as both the audience and Jay were made to feel right at home. With traits so engrained in our minds, the real-life presentation of Jay simply translated better to the stage. Kanye is still a better showman than a majority of mainstream rappers I've seen, he just needs to learn to roll with the punches a bit better (he also stopped "All Of The Lights" four times because it wasn't going quite the way he wanted it to). Jay's portion--and nearly the entire combined set--went according to plan, and if it didn't, we didn't notice, because we were too busy showering him with love.

Useless Information: An alternate title for this review was "Picking Besties: Kanye Makes Great Tunes, But I'd Rather Be Friends With Jay-Z."

Bonus Material: Set List (help me fill it in!)


Gotta Have It*


Welcome To The Jungle

Ni**a What, Ni**a Who (Originator 99)

Can't Tell Me Nothing

Who gon stop me*

Jesus Walks

All Falls Down

Diamonds From Sierra Leone

Public Service Announcement

U Don't Know*

Run This Town



Made In America

New Day

Hard Knock Life

H To The Izzo (H.O.V.A.)

Empire State Of Mind




On To The Next One

Dirt Off Your Shoulder

I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)

That's My Bitch

Good Life

Touch The Sky

Big Pimpin'

Gold Digger

99 Problems

No Church In The Wild

Ni**as In Paris

Ni**as In Paris


Ni**as In Paris

Ni**as In Paris

Ni**as In Paris

*Added with help from commenter Lizardman LegendaryMode. Thanks Lizardman LegendaryMode!

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