Watch The Throne Dublin at The O2 on Friday 8th June 2012
Review: Aidan Cuffe
Photos: Mark Earley
Oh dear lord where do I even begin. Tonight marked the coming of a much heralded showpiece, Watch The Throne, Dublin. A show that featured two superstars in their own right, sharing the stage to create a supershow if you will. Combination acts seems to be a strong power play at the minute but that doesn’t mean that it is guaranteed to be a good show. Reviews trickled across Europe and the UK as Jay-Z and Kanye West, or KanJay ran riot. In Paris they closed a 41 track set with 11 renditions of “Niggas In Paris” (When in Paris I guess, that’s 52 songs).
Watch The Throne’s proposed stagetime was 7:45, understandable considering the potential catalogue of tracks we might be facing. It ended up being closer to 8:30 as a stubborn Irish crowd refused to show up on time. This fact not withstanding, when they came out The O2 was pretty much rammed to capacity. No support, sure no need, that would just be wasting your time, you came to dance your ass off to two of the worlds biggest stars. Opening with H-A-M, calling for the crowd to show their diamonds and bounce, then raising the level with Who Gon’ Stop Me as two giant cubes raised our stars high above the crowd to balcony eye line. LED screens and lights providing a spectacle on each side of the cube, while lasers tear through the darkness. Try A Little Tenderness samples into Otis as a giant American flag draped along the back line of the stage and disappears like a magic trick at the end of the track. It’s hot, it’s sweaty and the crowd have found their dancing shoes.
Jay-Z goes it solo for Where I’m From and Jigga What, Jigga Who which pits the crowd vocally against each other as Jay-Z marshalls a crowd that was putty in his hands before he ever stepped on stage. Kanye takes the mic for Flashing Lights and a rocking rendition of Jesus Walks, again with the crowd input providing a chilling atmosphere. Run This Town beats on into Monster, into Power and even Hard Knock Life. The show is a relentless assault of visual and audio mayhem fronted by two passionate and commanding soldiers of music. That’s not to say there wasn’t parts where we could catch our breath. New Day got Jay-Z emotional, thanking the crowd for letting him share that moment with them, as he sat on a step on the stage with his pal. Kanye (not to be out done) kindly checked who came to the show with the one they loved, singing Runaway and Heartless atop a red coloured raised cube.
Big Pimpin, Golddigger and 99 Problems back to back makes this hot and sweaty crowd almost malfunction as clothes are lost in the mêlée of mayhem that is happening in the pit. It’s a torrent of dancing and bouncing to KanJay’s every whim and raising diamonds and bouncing on command. The track’s I’m mentioning are some of the more well-known tracks but everything in this 41 track set is flawless, It’s length should drag on, but it doesn’t, it’s relentlessness should tire you out, but it somehow doesn’t as you find energy from somewhere to just… keep…. dancing!
After an airing of Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World in full over the P.A. (crowd in full voice), we near the end of this spectacle. No Church In The Wild and LiftOff bring us into our final piece, Niggas In Paris. The question here is how many times we’ll hear it. Two renditions broken up by Jay-Z hailing the genius of Kanye and saying how honoured they feel to share Kanye’s birthday with Dublin, and that they couldn’t have wished for a better way to spend it. Cliché perhaps but this crowd was already putty, they didn’t need to win them over any more. Coming back to the stage for another two iterations with the crowd bouncing those diamonds in unison (yes everyone, from the pit up to the gods, all on their feet, hands bouncing), they drew this stunning ordeal to a close. My eyes and ears hurt in all the right ways from being thoroughly exercised and stimulated by probably one of the best live shows to come to Dublin.
This spectacle is happening again tonight, Saturday 9th June. I wrote this review quickly to make sure you (yes YOU!) heard about it. If you were not in attendance Friday, do yourself a favour and buy a ticket for tonight’s re-run. Even if you have to use a student or unwaged to buy you the discounted tickets, be cunning and go! You already know what’s going to happen, but believe me when you’re in there, you won’t care. Bring your old dancing shoes, you are going to wear thin the soles on whatever you wear, so we don’t recommend burning a hole in a new pair.
Kanye West and Jay-Z – Watch The Throne Dublin Gallery
Photos by Mark Earley
Jay-Z – 99 Probems (Watch The Throne, Dublin)