Legends of the Summer Tour in Philadelphia

Legends. As far as mainstream music goes, it appeared Philly saw the makings of legends coming to fruition last night. On a day that started off with road closures, power outages and drowning vehicles, I still determined that I was going to put on my best black and white ensemble and sit in my booty-numbing plastic seat for my go at the Legends of the Summer Tour with Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake.

It seems this Summer, there’s no escaping the loop of some of their songs. It’s a pretty general consensus that if “Mirrors” plays one more time, a baseball bat will forcefully meet the radio. Until it comes to South Philly’s backyard ballpark.

In a crowd that hasn’t been present since before the days of the Phillies’ 9 out of 11 losing streaks, Citizen’s Bank Park was swelling with the anticipation of encountering arguably two legends of our generation.

Down go the lights and up goes the scarlet glow of the stage.

Just like that, Jay-Z and JT enter the stage as comfortably as they enter their own front door. The expectation of opening acts, switching from a Jay-Z set to a Justin Timberlake set that started entirely too late was not the case for this August 13th event. Despite the size of the venue, there was no grandiose entrance. These performance pros were just two fish in a pond ironically with a lure called “Holy Grail.” Justin’s vocals smoothed over the roughly 40,000+ crowd into complete silence. Jay’s effortless lyric-spitting brought everyone back to life. Peanut butter and jelly.

Then, came an onslaught of their song roster in an audience-tickling twist. Essentially a leapfrog game of each verse of their songs of “Give It To Me”, “Rock Your Body”, “Excuse Me Miss”, “Senorita”, and countless other hits were the perfect mashup marriage of Justin’s pop and Jay’s hip hop. There was a perfectly balanced blend of new and old tunes from the both of them, with Justin’s red suited Tennessee Kids band backing the show in full.

Their individual sets, for lack of creativity due to the current Legends hangover, gave everyone what they wanted. The crowd wanted “Hard Knock Life,” they received it. It was time for, “Lovestoned,” he brought it. It was a nonstop sing-a-long in this lyrical balancing act’s performance.

Of course the night could not end without Jay’s homage to New York City. As the tormented little brother city of NYC, the crowd obviously did not initially respond well – until Justin hopped on the piano and began a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s, “New York, New York.” Bold move for a young artist, but impressively pulled off. I’m sure you can guess what’s next, the piggyback of “Empire State of Mind,” erupting the ballpark into a mini stadium earthquake.

The duo ended the night with the song I personally cannot get tired with, “Suit & Tie,” followed by their “Young Forever” dedication to Trayvon Martin.

Thanks to Mother Nature, the ambience from the late Summer breeze brought the perfect atmosphere for this outside show. Combine that with two big league players in popular music that truly came to play and you’ve formed a legendary show.

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