On Friday July 26th San Francisco’s Candlestick Park was filled with nearly 53,000 fans who watched two legends of music, Jay Z and Justin Timberlake, live up to their names. The Legends of the Summer Tour stopped by San Francisco on its 14-concert stadium run, which goes across the United States with a final show in Miami on August 16th. The show turned the current home of the 49’ers into an energetic, lavish display of two of the most dynamic and iconic ‘tunes’ men of the millennium. The duo, backed by a full live band and backup singers, began with their collaborative effort “Holy Grail”, which was the first single on Jay Z’s Holy Grail Magna Carta album which was released on this past 4th of July.
One of the pairs most popular collaborations is called “Suit and Tie” .The fans in the packed stadium, many in suits and bow ties, were dancing to the R & B/Pop stylings of Justin Timberlake, while bobbing their heads and jumping up and down to the Hip-Hop anthems of Jay Z’s catalogue, which dates back to the early 90’s. Songs included “Rock Your Body”, “99 Problems”, “Cry Me A River”, “Big Pimpin’”, “What Goes Around…Comes Around” and the 2006 hit that reinvented Justin Timberlake as a solo artist, “SexyBack”. The varied crowd showed just how well this partnership allows two music icons to merge their genres into a fun and awe inspiring performance. Highlights included a spotlight on Justin Timberlake as he channeled Frank Sinatra in his take of “New York, New York”, which then led to Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind”. The song is a love letter to New York as well, and Brooklyn native Jay Z was all smiles as he heard the Bay Area crowd singing the New York anthem back to him.
The crowd’s excitement was only matched by the spectacular visuals and stage which was completely washed in a glossy red coat; every step, every speaker, even the piano that was played by Timberlake. The deep red hue eventually gave way into the night as dazzling arrays of lights and visuals were displayed behind the performers. Yet one of the most dazzling displays came from the audience at the end of the night .As the second song of the duo’s encore, Jay Z’s “Young Forever”, (which indeed samples the Alphaville’s “Forever Young”), Jay Z asked the crowd of more than 50,000 to raise a phone, lighter or any other light producing source. To say it was an awe-inspiring visual to see so many lights in the then darkened stadium was in no way farfetched.
Jay Z dedicated that final song of the show to Trayvon Martin and anyone who had been lost to senseless gun violence. With the house lights down, the crowd illuminated the duo’s final sweeping performance of nearly 2.5 hours at Candlestick Park. After minutes of cheering, and hundreds of people holding up Jay Z’s signature hand symbol, “the roc”, (essentially using both outstretched hands to form a diamond), he and Timberlake made their way up the red stairs of the stage, while presumably joking with each other and looking back at the audience before a friendly hug and a clink of champagne glasses. Summer legends indeed, at least to everyone that night.