Jay Z and Justin Timberlake closed out the “Legends of Summer” tour stop in Hershey Park on Aug. 4 with a surprisingly heartfelt dedication to Trayvon Martin.
The duo performed Jay Z’s hit single “Young Forever” from his 2009 album, “The Blueprint 3,” in memory of the fallen teen whose murder in February of last year brought shock and sadness to the nation and rekindled racial tensions in America. The crowd reacted lovingly to the thoughtful display, with many audience members shedding tears over the course of the song.
But these were the only moments that the crowd was subdued during the nearly three-hour show. Before that impressive finale, energy of epic proportions surged through the tightly packed stadium.
This energy was no more evident than when the duo first took the stage, opening with Jay Z’s first single from this year’s “Magna Carta… Holy Grail” album, “Holy Grail.” They appeared before colossal screens on opposite sides of the platform, saluting each other and the crowd. They then proceeded through the song’s opening, sung by Justin Timberlake, before meeting in the center of the stage, where the heavy beat dropped and Jay Z broke into his verse, sending the crowd into an emphatic roar.
The dynamic opening set the tone for the night. There were no opening acts; Timberlake didn’t open for Jay Z, as some fans were previously mentioning. Not at all. The two titans stormed the stage together, two heavyweights in the music industry and kings in their respective genres – Jay Z in hip-hop and Justin Timberlake in R&B.
Masterfully, the duo meshed a few of their songs together, sharing the stage for most of the night and embodying great chemistry. This was evident when Timberlake performed a tribute to the Jackson 5 by emulating Michael Jackson’s famous dance moves and singing a verse off the group’s 1969 classic, “I Want You Back,” which is sampled in Jay Z’s “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” off his sixth album, “The Blueprint,” and opening the floor for Jay Z’s verse.
For a few songs, such as Jay Z’s “On to the Next One,” Timberlake played the piano, which is featured heavily in the song, while his counterpart rapped to the crowd.
Individually though, they both had time to show off their singular talents.
Jay Z performed classics such as “Jigga What, Jigga Who,” where Jay Z showed that he “still had it” during the song’s fast and difficult lyrics, and “99 Problems,” which drew a huge response from the crowd for the song’s powerful percussion, heavy grunge guitar, and meaningful lyrics, which display Jay Z’s masterful storytelling.
Timberlake really showed that he belongs in the same conversation as his legendary tourmate, as the singer more than held his own on stage. He deftly performed while holding terrific-sounding notes. He truly exercised his vocal range, all while dancing or playing instruments, such as the aforementioned piano, as well as both the acoustic and electric guitar.
The soulful singer dramatically controlled much of the show’s pace and flow, slowing it down for soft, mournful songs such as “Until the End of Time,” and then speeding things up with the summertime banger “Summer Love” and the first single from his upcoming fourth studio album, “The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2,” “Take Back the Night.” The latter is a fast-paced dance song with a unique disco sound.
Aside from the concert’s opening song, “Holy Grail,” Jay Z performed several newer songs from “MCHG,” such as “Tom Ford” and “F—kWithMeYouKnowIGotIt.”
An air of confidence, class, and eloquence surrounded Jay Z and Timberlake during their time on stage, exemplified when they donned blazers and nonchalantly performed holding glasses of champagne during the final two songs.
The duo held nothing back and gave the 30,000 fans in attendance more than their money’s worth during Sunday night’s memorable performance at Hersheypark Stadium, the smallest stop along their epic summer tour. The final show will be on Aug. 16 at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.