The title is a bold statement indeed, but an undeniable truth. Name another artist/group that has the ability to bring so many different people together in song. The Beatles? I saw a sea of Caucasians in the video of the fab four’s Shea Stadium concert, not much cultural diversity there. Michael Jackson? Maybe, but the amount of hatred and ill will his off-stage antics brought about overshadow his musical superiority. Bono maybe? But too many people despise his music. Jay-Z appeals to everyone. He is the epitome of the American dream, a rags to riches story played out in front of our eyes, one that anybody can get behind no matter what the color your skin may be. The diversity of his fan base shown through tonight in the mass of patrons exiting the performance.
I witnessed a pair of inebriated good ol’ boys from Alabama embrace two African American men from Atlanta in celebration of what they just saw. Women were kissing men, women kissed women, men kissed men. I witnessed adults high fiving teenagers, there were cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria played ot before my eyes. But a Jay-Z party made it okay. Laws of intolerance are non-existent inside the Bonnarooniverse. The world can learn a lesson.
Jay-Z also takes home the award for Best Set. During “Empire State of Mind” his composition of several giant computer screens morphed into a living, breathing, New York City Skyline, before transforming the audience perspective into that of a bird’s, flying in low above Times Square, The Empire State Building, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the rest of the big apple. People walked the streets and traffic sped along Broadway. The detail was mind boggling, as was Jay’s performance.
The Man spit nothing but the hits. It’s amazing how many tracks you don’t realize are his work until you see him on stage owning them.
The guy turned out 29 songs so I won’t go through all of them. Here is the setlist (http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/jay-z/2010/bonnaroo-festival-manchester-tn-5bd427f0.html).
For as good as it was, there remained a feeling of disappointment. With a chance for so many different collaborations, I can’t figure out why Jay-Z kept it a solo act. Bonnaroo would have been the perfect setting to show what he and Jack White have been working on. Why not perform as Jay-Zeezer for a couple of songs (look up the Black And Blue Album if you don’t understand this). And when will he and Stevie Wonder be within 100 feet of one another again?