“I need your energy tonight, Anaheim.” That was <a href=”/music/jay-z”>JAY-Z</a>’s humble request as the rap icon launched his 4:44 Tour on Friday night (Oct. 27) at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
And over the course of 90 minutes, Jay proceeded to rock the jam-packed venue from the rafters to the floor while internalizing a continuous stream of fans’ cheers and “Hova” chants.
Those hoping for a generous helping of tracks from his critically acclaimed 4:44 album got their wish. From the start, as eight giant video screens flashed various images of the rapper that later burst into flames, the man himself dove right in with the album’s opening track, “Kill Jay-Z.”
Holding court on an octagon-shaped stage set in the middle of the Honda Center with the aforementioned screens suspended overhead, Jay performed more than half of the songs that comprise 4:44. In addition to the title track (“This song is so real; it’s difficult for me to perform”), the selections included “Bam,” “Family Feud,” “The Story of O.J.” and “Marcy Me.”
As he strolled around the perimeter of the 360-degree stage, he weaved in a diverse array of selections from his career catalog. Among the flow master’s string of choice cuts and perennials: “Oceans,” “Heart of the City,” “Run This Town,” “Fuck With Me,” “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” “Beach is Better,” “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” “Allure,” “Hard Knock Life” and “Empire State of Mind.”
Before segueing into “Ni–as in Paris” and yet another boisterous audience rap-along, Jay asked if everyone truly understood the idea of this song: “If you look deeper, it’s about overcoming the odds and proving everybody wrong.”
As he did in performances this summer, Jay paid tribute to Linkin Park‘s Chester Bennington with their collaboration “Numb/Encore.” Then a few minutes after 11 p.m., he exited the stage amidst a sea of well-wishing fans to one more 4:44 track, “Smile.”
Acknowledging a couple of hiccups during the show, including missed and late segues, he said, “Thank you, guys. It’s our first day, and there were some minor mistakes. But we’re working it out.”
Perhaps that might mean some surprise guests popping up down the road. Friday night, Jay solely commanded the stage.
Saturday night (Oct. 28), the 4:44 Tour will land at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The tour also will stop in various markets around the country, including Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago and Seattle, before wrapping Dec. 21 at The Forum in Los Angeles.
JAY-Z’s special guest throughout the fall outing is newcomer and Roc Nation artist Vic Mensa. The Chicago rapper exuded confidence and a formidable skill set during his preceding 40-minute show Friday, which featured “Say I Didn’t,” “We Could Be Free,” “Down for Some Ignorance” and “Heaven on Earth” from his debut album, The Autobiography.