Jay-Z 'Answers the Call' in NYC with help from Rihanna, Beyonce, Kanye West, John Mayer and the rest of his Rolodex

“If you’ve ever been to a Jay-Z concert in your life, you know how it goes,” Shawn Carter told New York City’s sold-out Madison Square Garden last night. He was instructing us on the proper pronoun-shouting pattern to employ while he performed “Jigga What, Jigga Who,” but he might as well have been talking about the night’s overall entertainment. Anyone who’d had the pleasure of seeing Jay-Z in concert before knew what they were in for: Back-to-back-to-back hits, a sick live band, and best of all, the supreme master of ceremonies himself. It doesn’t matter if Jay is rapping to a sweaty little club or, in this case, a huge sporting arena plus a live television audience. Either way, he moves the crowd without fail.

Last night’s “Answer the Call” concert, simulcast by Fuse TV, was special even by Jay-Z’s standards. He was there to celebrate the release of his latest album, The Blueprint 3, as well as the eighth birthday of his original Blueprint, one of the decade’s most enduring albums from any genre. So he gave us a show that was very much like BP3: big, bold stadium-rap, with A-list guests galore. After Santigold came out to rep Brooklyn three songs into his set, it seemed like every single famous person in Jay’s phone book was waiting in the wings. His wife, Beyonce Knowles, was there in full force, though I was disappointed they didn’t do “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” or “Crazy In Love” or even “Upgrade U” together. Rihanna did a triumphant turn on “Run This Town” — where she and Jay were also joined by Kanye West, who went on to do a quick mini-set of his own material. Then there were the cameos from Diddy and John Mayer and Mary J. Blige and Kid Cudi and… (Scroll to the bottom of this post for a full set list including guests.) As Jay-Z hometown event shows go, this was the one to see.

It was also a special night for a more somber reason. The eighth anniversary of The Blueprint‘s arrival was, of course, also the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. All ticket proceeds from the show went to the New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Fund, and Jay repeatedly interrupted the show to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11. Sometimes it felt a touch awkward — did he really just dedicate “99 Problems” to…Al Qaeda?! — but mostly he handled the night’s complex emotions gracefully. “They believed that it weakened us,” he said of the terrorists who attacked New York on that day. “They were sadly mistaken.”

Certainly New York seemed stronger than ever while Jay was on stage. Were any of you there at the Garden, or did you watch on Fuse? Who was your favorite surprise guest? Let us know what you thought of Jay-Z’s “Answer the Call” extravaganza in the comments, below.

Set list:
“Empire State of Mind”
“Where I’m From”
“Brooklyn Go Hard” (with Santigold)
“PSA”
“Heart of the City”
“Already Home” (with Kid Cudi)
“Diamonds Are Forever”
“Jigga My N—-“
“Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”
“Jigga What, Jigga Who”
“U Don’t Know” (with John Mayer)
John Mayer: Riff medley (“’03 Bonnie & Clyde,” “Run This Town,” “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” “D.O.A.”)
“D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” (with John Mayer)
“Run This Town” (with Rihanna and Kanye West)
Kanye West: “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”
Kanye West: “Good Life”
“99 Problems”
“Venus vs. Mars”
Beyonce: “Diva”
“I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” (with Pharrell)
“On to the Next One” (with Swizz Beatz)
“I Know” (with Pharrell)
“Allure” (with Pharrell)
“Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
“Can’t Knock the Hustle” (with Mary J. Blige)
Mary J. Blige: “The One”
Medley: “Money Ain’t a Thing”/”Excuse me Miss”/”La La La”/”Feelin’ It”/”Fiesta” (remix)/”Lucifer”
“Can I Get A…”
“Big Pimpin'”
“Hard Knock Life”
Moment of silence
“Young Forever”
“Encore” (with Diddy and Kanye West)

Photo credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Comments (27 total) Add your comment
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  • invazion

    Thank you Jay-Z and fuse!!! what a concert – HISTORY was made once again – will be shown again on Sunday at 5pm.

    i found a “Run This Town” REMIX and it may be better then the original!!

    have you hrd it???

    http://wp.me/pfZ5J-YR

  • John

    Was at MSG. Jay killed it. Kanye stole the show. I thought Swizz Beatz brought a lot of energy. The one disappointment I had was touched on here: You have Beyonce, but you don’t do Crazy in Love? You have Rihanna, but you don’t do Umbrella? You have Pharell, but you don’t do Frontin’? Could have done without Mary J. Blige, but that’s just personal preference. She sounds shrill to me whenever she sings live.

  • Matthew

    I really enjoyed it on tv. I thought all the special guests were awesome and brought alot of energy to the concert. I think Beyonce and Jay Z should have done crazy in love or Bonnie and Clyde. Loved that he did something like this for the city of New York

  • Mary

    Happy, Rihanna is back!

  • Coachurly

    I watched the show on Fuse last night and Jay did not disappoint. However, I was hoping Missy and Twista would have performed “Is That Your Chick”. That would have sounded great with the live band.

  • Gigi

    Although I didn’t get to see the show in NYC, I did however watch the Fuse live broadcast. The show was phenomenal! One of the highlights for me was his performance with Kid Cudi, their vibe was fresh and very thrilling to watch. Jay-z is a class act. I’ve seen him live in concert three times already and I just purchased tix to my 4th show, can’t wait!.

  • deb

    Rihannas back? she never left and sadly enough she still can’t sing live but it was a great show overall.

  • Samantha

    Jay-Z and John Mayer KILLED IT on D.O.A I was so amazed. And normally Im not a huge John Mayer Fan. :)

  • Brandon

    The show was amazing, I would have loved for Jay-Z and Kanye to perform ”Hate” thats a great song. However the show was amazing. Kid Cudi looked so happy to be on stage with Jay-Z and he brought great energy, everyone did really. Beyonce was amazing as always, would have loved for a Beyonce/Jay-Z performance but still great show. o and big props to John Mayer hell of a guitar player.

  • Tangie

    People ya’ll forget Jay and Bey are married now. Who wants to sing duets with their wife? He made those songs before they got married.

  • Nathalie L

    The concert was AMAZING!! I didnt get to go but I watched it on fuse and i felt the excitement with the audience. I was singing and dancing along as well. After seeing this concert, I definitely want to see jay z in concert before i die.

  • trina

    As usual, Jay-Z delivered. He’s such an amazing performer. I LOVED the show. I liked Santi and Cudi, of course Kanye. John Mayer was amazing, it was a dream come true to see 2 of my favorite artists perform together, I hope to see more from them together. Of course, Beyonce killed it. She was on stage for less than 2 minutes and she murdered everybody. She really is the greatest performer of this generation, no one can touch her. I hope I get to see Jay live one day, he did a spectacular job with this show, great energy and great music! very proud of him for paying tribute the way he did.

  • MCocoa

    Friday night was my first time seeing JayZ. Transformative. And John Mayer killed it. Won’t be making fun of him anymore.

  • Moe

    Hov concert was CRAZY lastnite J killed it Greatest Rapper period B is my girl always a show stopper Mary was GREAT last night performing Can’t Knock The Hustle her energy was bananas

    • Janie

      All I have to say to kristi… WOW!!!!!!!! :)

  • kristi

    jay z rihanna and kanye west are all devil worshipers. they all use subliminal messages in their songs.

    THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE WORLD !

    • nikola

      can you please give me your cell phone number my number +3810637412264

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