Jay-Z Turns Bonnaroo 'Into a Nightclub'
When Bonnaroo employed the services of Kanye West a couple years ago, making him the first mainstream hip-hop artist to headline the festival, it had contentious results. West's arrival onstage was delayed for hours due to technical issues with his production, effectively making his late-night set an early-morning one. Fans were not pleased. Neither was West, who blogged about it the following week.
Jay-Z's arrival at Bonnaroo was quite a different experience. "There's a lot of love here, tonight," he told the crowd, halfway through his set. "I appreciate all of you -- in fact, I want to make Bonnaroo my second home, if that's okay with you." If the roar of the crowd was any indication, yeah, everyone thought that'd be just fine.
When Jay-Z first took the stage, following a transcendent set by Stevie Wonder, he gave a shout-out not only to Mr. Wonder, but also to local native Jack White, whose band the Dead Weather played the main stage before Wonder. The rest of the night, shout-outs were reserved mostly for audience members, as Jay-Z would point out certain people, identify them by what they were wearing, and acknowledge, "I see you!" But when he said, "You over there in the tie-dye, I see you," nobody was quite sure who he was talking about. This is Bonnaroo -- every fifth person is in a tie-dye. We're pretty sure Jay-Z may have played to a crowd this big (estimated at 70,000), and this stoned (he is HOVA, after all), but never a crowd with this many southern hippies.
Jay-Z continued to shower the audience in love, even bringing someone on stage from the front pit when he found out it was her birthday: some lucky girl named Maggie had 70,000 people sing happy birthday to her for her 19th. She's gonna have a good year.