After starting his October 28 show at T-Mobile Arena show around two hours late, due to what appeared to be a technical issue with one of four large screens that ensconced the circular, centered stage, Jay-Z performed a solid 90-minute set of hits. The 4:44 Tour debuted the night before in Anaheim, California and it was clear from the delay and a few glitches along the way, the kinks were still being worked out.
What shone was what Jay-Z does best—a powerful presence, like a prize fighter in the middle of his ring, his lyrics flowing, with the grit of the past and the exaltation of the present pouring from the 47-year-old rap icon. The video display cut between low-fi camcorder-style live footage mixed with purposefully roughly sewn together imagery that provided a commentary about the state of America, his family and his relationships.
A long way from his “Hard Knock Life,” Jay-Z is now a tenured professor in the game of fame, but his fans clamor for that “Heart of the City,” one that he still wears on the sleeve of his hoodie.
Photos by Al Powers for T-Mobile Arena