Jay-Z, Kanye West, Skrillex, D'Angelo Kick Off Made In America Festival
Jay-Z stood sipping champagne with Kanye West while red white and blue fireworks lit up the Philadelphia night behind them Saturday (September 1) to close out day one of the Jay-curated Budweiser Made In America festival. The celebratory mood was apt: the first half of this first-time fest brought some of the best in the worlds of hip-hop, EDM (Skrillex, Calvin Harris), R&B (D'Angelo), Rock (Passion Pit, Dirty Projectors), bachata (Prince Royce) and everything in between (Janelle Monae) to the thousands gathered on the Benjamin Franklin parkway.
On the first day of what Jay-Z hinted hopefully was the "first annual," Jay was spotted roaming from each of the festival's three stages to catch the "great music" he'd recruited. He was watching while Maybach Music Group rolled throughout hits like Wale's "Bag of Money" and Philly-native Meek Mill's "Amen" on the main Rocky Stage during the afternoon. He also witnessed Janelle Monáe's Liberty stage performance, which included new song "Electric Lady," hits from "The Audition" and "The ArchAndroid," and covers of Jackson 5 ("I Want You Back") and Jimi Hendrix ("Little Wing").
After Monáe put on an impressive show alongside her Wondaland Arts Society band, fans hurried back to the main stage to swoon over D'Angelo. He introduced crowd pleaser "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" with the touch of three keys, sending up a huge roar for more from the audience.
Following the July release of sophomore album "Gossamer," Passion Pit brought their brand of squiggly electro-pop to the main stage as the sun set. With sweat drenching the back of frontman Michael Angelakos' pink dress shirt, the collective ended its 45-minute set with a killer lineup of songs like "Constant Conversations," "Sleepyhead" and an especially jubilant "Little Secrets."
A late addition, elusive Roc Nation rapper, Jay Electronica, announced from the Liberty stage that he himself hit up Jay-Z to ask for a short slot and hinted at an upcoming single featuring Chris Brown, according to MissInfo.tv.
After the Dirty Projectors unspooled the pitch-perfect harmonies of new album "Swing Lo Magellan," Miike Snow were given a prime performance slot to play tunes from the follow-up to their 2009 breakout album. And like the DPs with their "Bitte Orca" songs, the Swedish pop band drew the most attention -- and contained the most panache -- when they played older material like "Animal" and an extended version of "Sylvia." But tracks from their recently released "Happy To You" also scored, as Andrew Wyatt paraded around the stage as strobe lights signaled the buoyant beat of "Paddling Out."
But although all of Saturday's performers pleased fans and won over new ones, such as was the case with Skrillex who ruled the second stage with skittering beats and a huge throbbing crowd as darkness prevailed and Gary Clark Jr. whose effortless blues-rock guitar solos were the first notes of the fest, the night belonged to Jay-Z and everyone knew it.
At 9:30, Jay-Z walked out to Frank Ocean's chorus to "Watch the Throne" song, "Made in America," in ode to the moments that were to be created.
After a message from President Barack Obama played on the massive screens -- in which he told concert-goers that "no matter your party, you should vote this fall"-- Jay-Z began performing hit after hit, from "In My Lifetime, Vol. 1" to "The Blueprint 3." Freeway, Memphis Bleek and Young Gunz then made a special appearance to re-create the magic from "Philadephia" 2002 Roc boys hit, "What We Do."
An hour into his 90-minute set, Jay announced that "Collision Course" song "Numb/Encore" would be the last song of the night, but no one believed that. After waking off stage, fans pleaded for more by screaming "Hova" and throwing their hands up in the signature Roc diamond shape.
"Because you've been so good to me tonight, Philly," Jay said on the mic before G.O.O.D. Music's Kanye West, Pusha T and Big Sean came out and performed their remix to Chief Keef's "I Don't Like." G.O.O.D Music, with later Common and 2 Chainz, took over the rest of night, performing their collaborative hits ("Mercy," "New God Flow") and solo singles (Big Sean's "A$$," Common's "Light of My Life" and Kanye West's "Can't Tell Me Nothing").
"Wait 'Ye, I think we got time for one more," Jay said before asking what looked like the venue's staff, if he indeed did. "We do," he said before him and Kanye made the tired yet overwhelmed fans jump to R&B/Hip-Hop Songs No.1, "Ni**as in Paris."
After the fireworks boomed from the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum behind the Rocky stage and Jay-Z and West finished sipping champagne, fans spilled out onto the Philadelphia streets on foot shortly after 11pm. Many will return today (Sept. 2) for the last day of Made In America, which will be streamed live on Made in America's YouTube channel and which will feature a headlining mainstage set from Pearl Jam and music from Drake, X, Odd Future, Run-D.M.C., and many more filling the day.