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N.J. Throne concert surpasses hip-hop hype

Kanye West, left, and Jay Z perform in

Kanye West, left, and Jay Z perform in concert during the "Watch The Throne" tour in East Rutherford, N.J. (Nov. 6, 2011) Credit: AP

It was a hip-hop show for the ages.

Not only did The Throne -- better known as Jay-Z and Kanye West -- prove once and for all that a hip-hop arena concert can be just as potent as any other genre, it also set the bar incredibly high for what arena shows should look and sound like and how they should be structured.

The Throne's first night in the area didn't just live up to the hype of watching hip-hop royalty perform together: it surpassed it. Jay and 'Ye's "Watch the Throne" show Saturday at the Izod Center in New Jersey crafted a better story than Lady Gaga's "Monster Ball." It built a more artistic spectacle than U2's "360" tour. It was just as chock-full of hits as arena outings from Britney Spears, Katy Perry and Rihanna.

And, man, was it fun.

By the time they hit the show's climax -- the one-two-three knockout punch of "Big Pimpin'," "Gold Digger" and "99 Problems" -- Jay was smiling ear-to-ear and 'Ye was bouncing around the stage, in his black leather kilt over black leather pants, like a kid hopped up on too much candy.

Their playfulness was palpable, just like the flame pots so intense you could feel the heat, or the bass so loud it rattled your chest as well as made the massive video screens shake. But they also made it clear that this was more than a party.

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The Throne broke the 2-hour, 20-minute show into three parts: problems, inspirations and triumphs. They got so caught up in the celebration of their triumph that they did their current single "---- in Paris" three times in a row, each time louder and more energetic than the one before, as the crowd hollered along.

"Watch the Throne" has been criticized as out of touch for these uncertain economic times -- as too much 1-percent boasting for their 99-percent fan base. But it all makes sense in context.

"We are living our dreams every night," Jay said in the triumphant "Made in America." "Know that your dream can come true."

 

The Throne in New York

WHO: The Throne

WHEN, WHERE: 7:30 Monday and Tuesday nights, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan

TICKETS: $69.50 to $350

INFO: 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

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