Jay-Z Answers the Call With Kanye West, Beyonce and More at 9/11 Benefit Concert
Announced just a week ago, Jay-Z's "Answer the Call" concert became one of the most highly-anticipated shows of 2009. With 20,000 tickets completely sold out in a matter of minutes, Jay-Z confirmed that he is indeed a hip-hop icon as he took over Madison Square Garden on Friday night. And, unlike the intimate free show he put on for his loyal fans at New York's Blender Theater at Gramercy earlier this week, Jay made sure he bought some friends along with him.
Opening with the appropriate 'Blueprint 3' standout track 'Empire State of Mind,' Jay brought and kept everyone in the Garden on their feet. His partner in crime Memphis Bleek was in the house as expected and Santigold came out to sing the hook for 'Brooklyn Go Hard.' An excited Kid Cudi joined Hov on stage for the 'BP3' track 'Already Home' and John Mayer acted as guitarist for a series of Jay's hits, including 'D.O.A.'
"I was proud to be from here," Jay said as he reflected on the heroic acts following the 9/11 tragedy. "Now we're standing here tonight, eight years later ... even stronger ... even stronger! We run this town New York City."
Rihanna belted out "Feel it comin' in the air/ And the screams from everywhere/ I'm addicted to the thrill/ It's a dangerous love affair" and eventually appeared on stage for 'Run This Town' in her first major performance since being assaulted by ex-boyfriend Chris Brown. Kanye West ran out on stage to close out the song with his verse as the pair brought the video to life, carrying out the dark, militia-like theme of the video.
The guest appearances didn't stop there. Jay kept it in the family and handed the stage over to his wife Beyonce, who performed 'Diva,' but she wasn't the last diva to grace the stage. Mary J. Blige danced around the stage for 'Can't Knock the Hustle,' before jumping into her new single 'The One.'
The night did not go without a reverent tribute to those who lost their life attempting to save others. A montage of the faces of the men and women who died on 9/11 was shown as Jay-Z's 'Young Forever' played in the background.
All proceeds from the concert, which aired live on Fuse, will go to the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund, which also hopes to use the publicity from the show to let more people know about the charity.
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