Live Review: Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne (Live at the LG Arena, Birmingham. 22.06.2012)

Opening with the epic song ‘H*A*M’ the night began. There couldn’t have been a more fitting song as the opera-like backing track filled the room with a powerful and almost empire-like vibe, playing on the title of the hit album ‘Watch the Throne’.

Kanye West at the LG Arena – Back Cube (This is where Jay-Z first appeared)

Jay-Z appeared as a giant cube rose from a smaller stage behind the majority of the crowd who were facing the main stage. This gave fans at the back a chance to be at the front, closer to the star. It was obvious that this show had been thought out well. The two stars were at opposite stages which allowed them to look at each other and rap to each other over the crowd, which made the entire experience more interesting and intense.

‘Who Gon Stop Me’ got everybody moving as this was the track with a sample from Flux Pavillion’s ‘I Can’t Stop’ – a certain crowd pleaser.

It wasn’t just going to be the ‘Watch the Throne’ album played though. Both artists successful in their own right, played multiple hits of their own. To my surprise they played ‘Flashing Lights’ in addition to ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder,’ which just bolstered fans spirits as the duo kept pulling out killer tracks.

The crowd couldn’t have been treated to a better set-list. This gig had everything from the serious ‘Gotta Have It,’ to the radio-friendly ‘Empire State of Mind’. Both artists rarely made any conversation other than to tell the fans how loud it was going to get which only made time for more songs, a very welcome prospect indeed.

Jay-Z at the LG Arena – Front Stage

Unfortunately the biggest negative of the show was the crowd itself. As is sometimes the case, the crowd can take a while to warm up which makes the artist’s work twice as hard. However, this was more than made up for by the time the pair had played ‘Gold Digger’ and ’99 Problems’ before the end of the show finale came up.

‘Niggas In Paris’ literally had the crowd going gorillas, so much so that they played it five times. It seems that although a ludicrous number of smash-hits had been played this was the crowning song.

Jay-Z and Kanye West got the crowd to make a huge circle pit (the size of the entire arena standing area) which was very novel for this genre of music. This fact was shown a little as a large proportion of people didn’t seem to understand what to do at first, before have a few practice charges.

Closing the entire show the pair told the crowd in a number of ways that they had just witnessed the “best night ever,” which was received well by most.

This show was very impressive, and both acts performed very well. The visuals were extremely well-made and were very thought-provoking (Police brutality and big barking dogs amongst other things).

It’s a good job there are talks of a second throne album in the works, as this is definitely a show not to miss if the opportunity arises again.

To see the full set-list for this concert visit:

To see the uplifting start of the track ‘Otis’ watch this:

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