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Jay-Z & Kanye West, Live At The O2
Where the fuck do they go from here?
Celina Murphy, 15 Jun 2012
On my way into the O2 arena to see Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne show, a security guard confiscated my umbrella. “But,” I argued, “it’s raining. It’s been raining all day and I…” “Sorry, love,” he shrugged, “you’ll get it back on the way out.” I was more confused than anything (in fact, I spent the next 40-odd minutes trying to imagine just how I would go about impaling Kanye West’s diamond-filled head onto the skeleton of a €4 umbrella) but oh, well, I figured, I’ll pick it up later.
This is now hilarious to me – the idea that after two-and-a-half sweaty, heaving, hit-packed, roof-raising hours of relentless, all-conquering hip hop, I would have room in my brain for a small umbrella; that after a show that left me so embarrassingly energised I tried to persuade my gigging partner to jog home with me, I would find the time to worry about getting wet; that after 150 minutes of being forcibly enveloped by wealth and excess, I would even know what an umbrella is or why anyone would ever need one. Ladies and gentleman, they don’t call it Watch The Throne for nuthin’.
Before I bumped and grinded my way through what turned out to be an astonishingly fun feature film-length hip hopaganza, I understandably had a couple of questions; What would happen when the Watch The Throne material ran out? Would there be choreography? How would the two biggest egos in rap going to share a stage without things getting… well, weird?
These and more questions are still darting around my head when Ye and Jay appear, as if from nowhere, to the opening bars of ‘H.A.M’, spitting their little hearts out, and eyeing each other up from two separate platforms like a pair of rabid pitbulls (animals who, coincidentally, later pop in pixilated form). The platforms grow until they’re almost at balcony level, where they swiftly change form to resemble two giant shark tanks. It’s easily the craziest and most impressive thing I’ve seen in the O2, and the spectacle barely wavers for another 40 songs.