Jay-Z, Beyonce play Barack Obama inauguration-eve show

Plus Mary J Blige covers U2 at intimate Washington DC gig

Jay-Z paid tribute to Barack Obama on the eve of his inauguration with a special one-off intimate concert at Washington DC‘s Warner Theater tonight (January 19).

Joined by an impressive array of guests, tickets for the show (billed as “An Evening With Jay-Z”) ranged from $100 to $500 as fans joined the rapper in celebrating the beginning of the new presidency.

With a backdrop featuring huge images of Obama, the atmosphere inside the auditorium was electric throughout the show, with the crowd remaining on their feet for the entire set.

Backed by his 10-piece band, Jay-Z played a set drawn from across his back catalogue including ‘Hard Knock Life’, ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’ and ’99 Problems’, which featured samples from AC/DC‘s ‘Back In Black’.

‘Jigga My Nigga’, ‘Say Hello To The Bad Guy’ and ‘Brooklyn (Go Hard)’ – the latter of which is expected to feature on forthcoming album ‘The Blueprint 3’ and can seen below – featured in the set.

The rapper, a long-time Obama supporter, did not speak directly about the politician, but he changed many of his lyrics to reference the president-elect. At one point he even rapped a specially penned a cappella tribute to the incoming commander-in-chief proclaiming: “Obama ran so our children could fly“.

As well as featuring several onstage contributions from rapper Young Jeezy, the show also featured a 15-minute set by Mary J. Blige culminating in a cover of U2‘s ‘One’.

The biggest cheer of the night, however, was reserved for Beyonce who appeared onstage for a high-energy guest spot with Jay-Z which saw her perform ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’.

The show ended with Jay-Z dishing out champagne to fans in the front row, toasting the “beautiful” four years to come before leading the crowd through loud chants of “Obama, Obama“.

Along with the hip-hop community who were out in force at the show, the likes of R.E.M bassist Mike Mills and actor Samuel L Jackson also managed to get tickets for the over-subscribed event.

See NME.COM today for more coverage of the musical tributes expected to accompany Barack Obama‘s inauguration today (January 20).