JAY-Z Takes Over SXSW in Austin!
For roughly 75 minutes on Monday night, Jay-Z led a New York takeover of downtown Austin.
The proof came near the end of his special AmEX-Sync concert for SXSW, when Jay-Z asked some 2,700 fans in attendance how many New Yorkers were in the house before launching into “Empire State of Mind,” his juggernaut ode to the city. The response drowned out a similar Texas roll call, showing just how much of the publishing, media and entertainment world had temporarily relocated from NYC to Austin for the fest.
Downsizing from his usual arena-scale shows to the more intimate setting of Austin City Limits Live at Moody Theater, Jay-Z exuded charisma from the moment he opened with “What More Can I Say,” coolly firing off rhymes into a pedestal mic at the center of the X-shaped stage. Later, he trolled its outer edges, ripping through a hit list that was at least partially determined by requests made via Twitter and included “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” “99 Problems,” “Big Pimpin’” and “Public Service Announcement.”
Through it all, he remained relaxed, calm and confident as ever. It was like the equivalent of watching a preseason exhibition game for a professional athlete; without a ton at stake, this was mostly a chance for Jay-Z to stay in performance shape and have some fun while he’s at it.