“Wait till I tell my mom Stevie Wonder stayed for my set!” Jay-Z announced as he kicked off Saturday’s final main-stage show at Bonnaroo.
Wonder — and the 70,000 or so other people who watched the rapper’s hit-filled set — got an earful, as Jay-Z tore through a hit-filled set that included Big Pimpin’, 99 Problems, Hard Knock Life and many, many others. Throughout, Jay-Z tempered a well-deserved swagger with what seemed to be genuine enthusiasm to be performing at the festival in front of tens of thousands people in the audience who likely had never seen him
“I wanna make Bonnaroo my second home, if that’s okay with y’all,” he said, as he introduced his first home by way of Empire State of Mind, which featured Bridget Kelly on vocals. Rapper Memphis Bleek also joined Jay-Z for much of the set.
Two years ago, Kanye West played a problem-filled late-night set on the same stage that could have permanently soured the festival on hip-hop. Jay-Z’s set, though, went off without a hitch. — Brian Mansfield