Jay-Z reopens Hollywood Palladium with special guests

Rap star does his best Sarah Palin impression

Jay-Z gave a landmark performance joined by special guests at the reopening of the Hollywood Palladium last night (October 15).

The legendary Los Angeles venue, which originally opened its doors in 1940 with a performance by Frank Sinatra and has seen the likes of The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Pixies and Morrissey grace its stage, underwent a major renovation that was unveiled at last night’s star-studded event.

Headliner Jay-Z pulled out all the stops during his nearly two-hour set, backed by a 12-piece band and was joined on stage by T.I. and DJ AM, who gave his first performance since surviving a deadly plane crash last month.

The 4,000-capacity venue was packed with fans, celebrities and industry types, many of whom were dressed in cocktail attire.

The crowd erupted when Jay-Z took the stage. “What’s up LA? I see you all wanna go all the way!” he shouted. “It’s an honour to be here at the Hollywood Palladium tonight where Frank Sinatra performed years ago. Tonight it’s old brown-eyes,” he quipped.

The controversial 2008 Glastonbury headliner launched into ‘Say Hello’ with two drummers and a three-piece horn section. The crowd danced and waved their hands in the air underneath sparkling chandeliers and a giant new screen display.

Things got political when Jay-Z performed the scathing a capella rap ‘Minority Report’, during which images of Hurricane Katrina victims flashed on the giant screen, ending with an unflattering image of President George W Bush. “How many people here are voting for Obama?” Jay-Z asked, and the crowd roared back. “Let’s change it up!” he added before introducing special guest T.I., who joined him on ‘Swagga Like Us’.

The newly improved sound system made it easy to decipher most of Jay-Z‘s lyrics.

Later in the evening, the star did an impression of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, imitating her trademark expression, “You betcha”, and adding that he had some advice for John McCain on “how to handle home girl”. He then launched into ’99 Problems’, rapping, “I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one”, resulting in the crowd going wild.

Before leaving the stage, Jay-Z said: “This was a historic night for me. Hope it was a historic night for y’all.”

–By our Los Angeles staff.

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