Jay-Z has played many venues throughout his successful music career. He has performed at the Grammy’s, Bonnaroo, Coachella, Glastonbury, and The Apollo Theater … but to Jay-Z, his favorite place to perform was at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
“I’ve been on many stages, been around the world, but nothing feels like tonight,” Jay-Z told the energetic audience. “Nothing feels like tonight, Brooklyn. I swear to God.”
According to NBC News, Jay-Z was more energetic and emotional during his performance at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center because, even though he famously grew up in Brooklyn’s Marcy Houses, this was his first major performance in his home borough. Also, Jay-Z’s performance was the first performance ever in the newly constructed venue.
As partial-owner of the Brooklyn Nets, Jay-Z helped get the billion-dollar basketball arena built not to far from his old neighborhood.
Jay-Z’s performance was a very emotional and invigorating performance which had the audience loving every minute of it.
He started the night off with 1997′s classic “Where I’m From.” It’s a staple of his live sets, a song that he has performed countless times on stage. While sporting jeans and a black puffy vest over a custom Nets jersey, Jay-Z attacked the verses of every song with renewed passion.
One of the biggest highlights of the night, was when he paid tribute to a fallen mentor, the Notorious B.I.G., by building “Kick in the Door” and “Juicy” into the set list. Shortly after an amazing performance of “99 Problems”, Jay-Z walked to a far corner of the stage and grabbed a glittering gold bottle, requesting a moment of respectful silence as he poured out a little bubbly for Biggie.
“See, you can stunt like that when you own the whole place.” He turned reflective, reminiscing aloud about his journey from the projects to this stage. “You don’t mind if I take my time? I’m really overwhelmed a little bit.”
As the main set was starting to wind down, Jay-Z looked out at the 18,000 fans, savoring the moment. “What an amazing feeling tonight,” he said again. “This night was a dream.” He sincerely thanked everyone while the chords of 2003′s “Encore” played on in the background.
Then, someone in the crowd passed a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey with Jackie Robinson’s name on it up to the stage, and Jay-Z held it up with pride: “Look how far we’ve come.”
After a guest appearance by Big Daddy Kane, Jay-Z ended the night with one more heart-felt speech about the talent that he believes lies within everyone.
“I ain’t no different from anyone in this room, and now I’m standing on this stage, living proof,” he said. “There’s no ****** curfew,” he said smiling. “But I’ve really got to go.”