Jay Z, Justin Timberlake bring chemistry, hit formula to sold-out Ford Field

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Providing the yin to the other’s yang, Jay Z and Justin Timberlake dropped a potent one-two punch onto Ford Field Tuesday night.

With Timberlake laying down smooth dance moves alongside Jay Z’s seasoned laid-back swagger, the superstar duo lived up to one of the summer’s premier concert billings for a roaring, engaged audience of more than 40,000.

In a show that was intricately orchestrated but still loose enough to give the whole thing a freewheeling mood, the nearly 2½-hour set was a marathon party, a rat-a-tat-tat of hits and high energy.

Detroit was one of just a dozen cities to luck out on one the duo’s Legends of the Summer tour stops, and the football stadium was bristling with buzz well before the two appeared onstage at about 9:20 p.m. The last time we’d seen each of these guys in a stadium-sized setting here, it was across the street at Comerica Park: Timberlake in 2001 with ’N Sync, and Jay Z in 2010 when he co-headlined with Eminem.

Related: Jay Z, Justin Timberlake rock Ford Field, fans buzz on social media

They opened Tuesday with their new collaboration “Holy Grail,” appearing astride risers at opposite ends of the mammoth, lavish stage before making their way to the middle for the first of many side-by-side musical moments.

From there it was on through a rapid-fire selection of tunes to rev up the party: Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body,” a sprightly “I Want You Back” in its natural pairing with Jay Z’s “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” Timberlake’s “Senorita,” Jay’s “On to the Next One.”

It was all gloriously bombastic, the kind of night when having two drummers (and a percussionist), three keyboardists and a pair of video screens big enough to beam images to Canada all made perfect sense. And anyway, it wasn’t all just for show: The 14-piece band — complete with a feisty horn section and topped with four stylish backup singers — was tight, dense and nimble enough to serve both performers well.

Sure, this tour is a gimmick of sorts, teaming up two of the era’s biggest stars — and periodic studio collaborators — for a high-powered festival of hip-hop, R&B and pop. But Tuesday night, it was a gimmick that really worked: Jay Z and JT looked liked they’d been doing this together for years, sporting an affable chemistry as they played to one another and handed off the mic between comings and goings.

They’d arrived at Ford Field in dichotomous career spots: Jay Z the veteran rap kingpin on cruise control, Timberlake the comeback kid who seems to have remembered that he really digs this whole music thing. The latter was the harder working performer of the night, jumping from keyboard to piano to acoustic guitar when he wasn’t serving up his Michael Jackson-inspired maneuvers up front (and calling out to Detroit “Rock City” all night).

That certainly doesn’t mean Jay Z was second fiddle, and it was his litany of hits (“99 Problems,” “Hard Knock Life,” the stacatto-rapped “Jigga What, Jigga Who” and “Big Pimpin’”) that consistently drove the show. It’s old news at this point that the 43-year-old emcee has singlehandedly elevated the standards for live hip-hop in a big-stage production. But it’s still impressive to see it in action, and he prowled the Ford Field stage Tuesday night a larger-than-life showman, fully occupying his moment.

The set never dwelled too long in one musical place. The night’s most straightforward stretch came with Timberlake’s relatively lengthy midshow run of lush-grooved pop (“Summer Love,” “What Goes Around … Comes Around”), with “Cry Me a River” intensifying into a twin-guitar climax.

The only real awkward moment came with Timberlake’s rickety cover of “New York New York,” buttressing Jay’s “Empire State of Mind.” It was a lone clunker in a potent homestretch as the show began to hit its climatic run.

By the time they got to the encore, clad in tux jackets and hoisting glasses of champagne as they ran through a solid “Suit & Tie” and even better “Young Forever,” it was clear they’d accomplished something worth toasting themselves for. And don’t be suprised if 2013 isn’t the last time you see them doing it.

 

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Jay-Z carries a heavy load as ‘Girls’ star Jemima Kirke has to be removed from his video shoot

Ma’am, please remove yourself from Hova immediately.

Jay-Z had back problems while filming a 10-minute performance video promoting his “Magna Carta Holy Grail” album. According to sources at midtown’s Pace Gallery, he needed help from security to lighten the load.

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	Jay Z's 'Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film'.</p><br />

JAY Z’s Life+Times via YouTube

Jay Z’s ‘Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film’.

In the video, which debuted over the weekend, Jay-Z talks about performance art and raps the single “Picasso Baby” live. The audience is a group of art world stars like Marina Abramovic and celebs including Alan Cumming and “Girls” star Jemima Kirke, who stood on the sidelines and took turns sitting on a gallery bench while Jay-Z rapped to them during the seven-hour shoot.

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	Jemima Kirke in Jay Z's 'Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film'.</p><br />

JAY Z’s Life+Times via YouTube

Jemima Kirke in Jay-Z’s ‘Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film’.

But for quirky Kirke, watching quietly wasn’t going to work. In the video, she first takes her turn on the bench, letting Hova serenade her. Wearing hot pink pants and a black top, the smiley actress still has her act together as she lets down her hair and grins away. A short time later, the video cuts to Kirke, now draped on Jay like a cheap suit as he raps to the cheering crowd.

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	Jemima Kirke in Jay Z's 'Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film'.</p><br />

JAY Z’s Life+Times via YouTube

Kirke hangs on to Jay-Z during filming of his video for ‘Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film’.

“She was acting totally nuts!” said one witness, who watched Kirke climb onto Jay’s back and hold on tightly while the hip-hop superstar walked about, rapping to fans without missing a beat. “She kept jumping on his back like a little monkey,” says our source.

Seeing Kirke going bananas, Jay Z’s security staff peeled her off the rap icon.

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	Jemima Kirke in Jay Z's 'Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film'.</p><br />

JAY Z’s Life+Times via YouTube

The ‘Girls’ actress was carted off kicking and screaming, according to witnesses, but this shot made it into the final video.

“Someone was screaming ‘Get her off of him!’ ” says our spy. Kirke went away kicking and begging, “Let us finish!” as she was removed from the gallery.

Rest assured, Jay never lost his cool.

“He kept rapping the whole time!” our amazed onlooker assures us.

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	Jemima Kirke in Jay Z's 'Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film'.</p><br />

JAY Z’s Life+Times via YouTube

Kirke is known to really get into her art. In 2010 she was photographed bawling during a Marina Abramovic performance.

This isn’t the first time that Kirke, a painter who plays the bohemian Jessa Johansson on the popular HBO show, has lost control during a performance art piece. In 2010 she was photographed bawling her eyes out at performance artist Abramovic’s “The Artist Is Present” MoMA exhibition, where Abramovic sat still for more than 700 hours, simply staring at visitors who took turns sitting across from her. Called for comment about their client’s Jay Z meltdown, Kirke’s reps said they knew nothing of the incident.

Top model Miles McMillan, above, and Zachary Quinto are a hot new pair.

Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

Top model Miles McMillan, above, and Zachary Quinto are a hot new pair.

QUINTO: PLENTY MILES PER HOUR

Zachary Quinto is dating one of the world’s hottest male models, sources tell Confidenti@l. The “Star Trek” star has hooked up with Miles McMillan, who has been the face of Topman and fronted campaigns for Paul Smith and H & M. Quinto, 36, was sighted Monday night at the after-party for “The Butler” at the Bowery Hotel with his arm wrapped around the 24-year-old McMillan. “They were making out and couldn’t take their eyes off each other,” says our source. “They have traveled together and have been getting closer over the last few weeks. There are definitely sparks there.” Quinto split from “Glee” actor Jonathan Groff last month and appears to have wasted no time in finding his latest love interest. Also at the star-packed DeLeon Tequila and Samsung-presented bash were Oprah, Forest Whitaker, Lenny Kravitz, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mariah Carey, Naomi Watts, Liam Hemsworth, Anna Wintour and Harvey Weinstein.

CHRIS HAS HEAVY BOOKINGS

One minute he’s behind bars, the next he’s leaving bars. Chris Brown had a busy Monday after turning himself in at the Van Nuys jail in Los Angeles around 2 p.m. (after a hit-and-run allegation from earlier this summer), staying for only 45 minutes, and then showing up less than 12 hours later partying at AV nightclub. The 24-year-old continued to flaunt his player lifestyle, leaving the club with a mystery blond before jumping in his $700K customized Lamborghini.

Kellan Lutz can wow ’em with his Ah-nuld impression.

John Lamparski/Getty Images

Kellan Lutz can wow ’em with his Ah-nuld impression.

HE’S LUTZ OF LAUGHS

While in Chicago for the Lollapalooza music festival, Kellan Lutz entertained pals including Danny Masterson and “Breaking Bad” actor Aaron Paul with his impersonation of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sources tell us Paul was in high spirits at ASOS Rocks’ Barefoot Wine bar, even though his show … won’t be bock. “Aaron Paul was hilarious!” said one partygoer, who saw Paul telling people to dance and offering massages to loosen them up. He also managed to talk his way into meeting Salt-n-Pepa, who performed at the bar.

Edie Falco says that her 5-year-old daughter, Macy, is the family trend-setter in style.

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Edie Falco says that her 5-year-old daughter, Macy, is the family trend-setter in style.

FALCO FOLLOWS MACY’S STYLE

At the Ralph Lauren Girls Fashion Show at Wolffer Estate in Sagaponack, L.I., on Monday, Edie Falco told us her adorable daughter Macy, 5, already has a skill that Falco never had — style. “Now she’s all about, ‘I wanna wear this’ and she’ll say, ‘No, this goes with this!’ ” Falco told Confidenti@l. “But she has a great sense of it. She’s great with color. It’s an aptitude I never had.” Asked if Macy copied mom’s style, Falco laughed and said, “No! She’s got her own thing going on.”

Sydney Leathers’ message is that she’s getting fit for new projects.

REUTERS

Sydney Leathers’ message is that she’s getting fit for new projects.

LEATHERS’ SLIM HOPES FOR STARDOM

Sydney Leathers is not fat, she’s from Indiana, and weight is “a sensitive subject for any woman. And the most I have ever weighed is 140 pounds, and I’m 5-feet-6. So I have never been morbidly obese,” she tells Confidenti@l. But the aspiring porn star and Anthony Weiner’s Twitter pal says her days of being mocked over her physique are coming to an end.

“I’m now dieting and exercising,” she says. “I want to be as healthy and look as good as I can.”

Desiree Hartsock and Chris Siegfried get together on ‘The Bachelorette.’

Francisco Roman/ABC

Desiree Hartsock and Chris Siegfried get together on ‘The Bachelorette.’

‘BACHELORETTE’: FINALLY A RINGER

For the first time in “Bachelorette” history, ABC’s leading lady of reality TV wound up majorly rejected by her first choice. As Desiree Hartsock, 27, and her fallback fiancé Chris Siegfried, 27, made their first public appearance in New York City on Tuesday, not even the shine from Hartsock’s Neil Lane engagement ring could distract fans from the facts: Hartsock wound up settling. Still, the couple looked happy out and about … for now.

SHEEN BACK WITH WINNING WAYS

Just two years after Charlie Sheen spent his time with two adult film stars he called his “Goddesses,” the unpredictable star has found a new bevy of porn stars to pose with him topless — this time, they’re Charlie’s “Angels.” Capri Anderson and Georgia Jones, both porn stars, have reportedly moved into Sheen’s L.A. mansion. On Tuesday, Sheen tweeted this photo from a Hawaii vacation, showing three new sets of … beautiful eyes. Party of five, anyone?

MORE ON BIEB’S LATEST HITS

Southampton Town police have stepped up their investigation into a weekend brawl that centered around bratty pop star Justin Bieber when a brunette waitress and an Asian woman — not a blond woman, as some reports had claimed — left the club with Biebs and his entourage. As Confidenti@l first revealed, the incident started in the club and continued in the parking lot on a night when some media outlets reported an incident-free evening.

GIUDICE’S BUSY DAY IN COURT

Jail? Fuhgeddaboudit. Kim “D” DePaola is hosting an Aug. 14 book-signing party for her “Real Housewives of New Jersey” pal Teresa Giudice at her Posche Boutique in Wayne, N.J. Never mind that Giudice has a court date that day where she’ll be addressing 39 counts of fraud that could make her a Real Inmate of New Jersey. “I don’t understand how she can do a book signing that day,” says a source close to the housewives. “She definitely has balls.”

Minka Kelly glams up the red carpet at ‘The Butler’ premiere.

ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

Minka Kelly glams up the red carpet at ‘The Butler’ premiere.

MINKA BACKS HER FILM

Minka Kelly goes backless in a Sophie Theallet gown as she attends the Ziegfeld Theatre premiere of her film “The Butler,” directed by Lee Daniels. Kelly’s got the plum role of Jackie Kennedy in the movie, starring Forest Whitaker.

REBEL WITH PAWS

Sure, Cosmopolitan’s September issue may feature a leggy shot of “The Vampire Diaries” star Nina Dobrev on the cover, but Aussie actress Rebel Wilson and an insanely cute fluffy dog are the real stars of the issue. Inside, the curvy comedy star poses for a fall fashion spread alongside the white furball, and gets to wear a red-hot Schott NYC jacket, Miu Miu sunglasses and Michael Kors jewelry. We can’t decide who we love more: Wilson or that photogenic pooch.

SEEN & HEARD …

Tyra Banks leaving the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa in the Plaza Hotel. … “Suits” actor Gabriel Macht dining with girlfriend Jacinda Barrett for her birthday celebration at LES eatery the General, before heading to the downstairs Jazz Room for live music. … Michael Kors dining at Amagansett, L.I., hot spot Sotto Sopra. … Singer/songwriter Julie Kathryn will preview material from her debut album “Black Trees” at the Slipper Room on the LES Thursday. … Dutch DJ R3hab will spin at Hamptons hotspot South Pointe on Saturday.

 

Jay Z Visits North West, Kimye In California

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Beyoncé and Jay Z Attend Trayvon Martin Rally in NYC

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Beyoncé and Jay Z joined a rally in New York City honoring Trayvon Martin on Saturday.

The two stood alongside activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton, who spoke at the peaceful protest and introduced the the couple as “two of the baddest artists of all time.”

“Jay Z and Beyoncé said they didn’t want to speak and they didn’t come for a photo op,” he announced to the crowd of hundreds of thousands.

“Jay Z told me, ‘I’m a father. Beyoncé is a mother.’ We all feel the pain and apprehension—the laws must protect everybody, or it doesn’t protect anybody. We do not come from hate, we come from love of children,” Sharpton continued.

The “Grown Woman” singer went with a more demure ensemble for the event, a black sundress and conservative heels. Her rapper hubby donned a suit and white T-shirt for his public appearance.

NEWS: Stars react the the George Zimmerman verdict

Beyonce, JayZ, Reverend Al Twitter

Both music industry heavyweights have been outspoken about their feelings on the trial.

On July 19, Bey tweeted, “#actnow4Travyon” and attached a link asking fans to sign a petition on MoveOn.org to join the protest.

“Trayvon Martin’s most basic civil right, the right to live, was violated,” she wrote on her Tumblr.

She also shared a photograph of herself, Jay and Travyon Martin’s parents on her website earlier today and asked for a moment of silence at a Miami concert last week following the verdict announcement.

Meanwhile, last night at the Legends of the Summer tour with Justin Timberlake, Jay dedicated the song “Forever Young” to the slain teenager.

“This is for Trayvon, so light up your cell phones New York!” he shouted at the crowd.

NEWS: President Barack Obama weighs-in on the Travyon Martin case

Bey’s sister, Solange, also spoke out publicly regarding the death of Martin.

Last week, she held a peaceful protest in Brooklyn and spoke in front of a crowd of hundreds.

She carried a homemade sign that quoted the late human rights leader and Muslim minister Malcom X that read, “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. Malcolm X”

The singer took to Twitter to further vent about the trial that rocked the nation and the peaceful protest.

“Seeing & gathering with people today/tonight all for the same fight helped to restore my faith in humanity…” she said.

She added: “I am optimistic…I am sick of racism & want to do something about it.”

Jay-Z’s No. 1 ‘Magna Carta’ extends rap’s hot streak

Imageay-Z’s chart-topping Magna Carta Holy Grail isn’t just a personal triumph for the hip-hop baron. It’s another victory lap for rap.

The genre is on a hot streak this summer.

Magna Carta sold 528,000 copies its first week, according to data from Nielsen SoundScan. For the first time, four different rap albums have consecutively held the No. 1 spot.

Kanye West’s Yeezus was the first, followed by Wale’s The Gifted and J. Cole’s Born Sinner.

Jay-Z and Kanye West: Are they out of ideas of their own?

ImageLast week, producer Hudson Mohawke — a centerpiece of Kanye West’s extended crew and a producer on “Yeezus” — said something that almost no other producer peer was willing to. He thought the new Jay-Z album didn’t sound all that exciting.

“This record could’ve came out 10 yrs ago n no one wouldve batted an eye lid,” he wrote on Twitter. In a followup reply to the producer Mike Dean, he added: “Not negativity just honest opinion I think it’s lazy, just my own opinion. Not hating.”

Plenty of fans chimed to support Mohawke, with the droll Flying Lotus mock-chiding him that “hey hey. Ur famous now. U not allowed to b honest no more.” Dean, for his measure, ominously warned Mohawke that he was screwing up his chances to make beats for “Watch the Throne 2.”

PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times

Jay’s recent collaborations in the performance-art world (like playing his Jeff Koons and George Condo-riffing single “Picasso Baby” for six hours at New York’s Pace Gallery) imply he’s not lacking for high-art fans. But it’s interesting that Mohawke — now one of mainstream rap’s edgiest and in-demand producers — would feel comfortable calling the new album from hip-hop’s corporate titan “lazy” and wanting “beats in general (that) dont sound like 2003.”

Is it because these young producers know that the older guard needs the credibility of other, more challenging artists more than ever?

In a recent bomb-chucking piece on Grantland, Sean Fennessey suggests that Jay-Z and Kanye West have both essentially become vampires of other, vital underground sounds and aesthetics. This isn’t a new thing in pop music — go ask Carole Kaye who really played the bass lines on “Pet Sounds,” or the Funk Brothers about who forged the Motown sound.

But as the Internet underground churns out an astonishing amount of interesting, evolving hip-hop, kingpins like West and Jay are left in a tough predicament. They know they live on a musical and capitalist Mt. Olympus full of fine paintings, wine and women and are happy to tell you about it.
But it’s also kind of telling that the most notable conversation points about each of their new records were a Samsung affiliation and the fact that Kanye admitted he barely even tried at all in writing about half the album.

RELATED: Best albums of 2013 so far | Randall Roberts

If that’s what it means to be a god, being a god sounds kind of boring and unrewarding.

Maybe that’s why each of them have taken their generally acknowledged “coolest guys on the planet” reputations and latched onto others who are doing arguably more interesting actual work.

It’s a smart move. When Jay-Z raps “Picasso Baby” to Marina Abramovic and the art critic Jerry Saltz for six hours, it’s hard not to feel smitten and bit jealous.

But then one remembers Kanye already tried a similar concept at the release of “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” where he hosted an album playback amid a Vanessa Beecroft performance piece with dozens of nude models.

And then you remember a few years ago when Jay put out an “Occupy”-themed T-shirt for profit in the thick of the street protests. And then you pull up the “Watch the Throne” video for “No Church in the Wild” that evokes Arab Spring revolutions, on an album that’s fundamentally about having bankrolls and lifestyles befitting a cynical Middle East oil titan.

And then you go listen to “Yeezus,” which after a few weeks still sounds unimpeachably progressive, with an impeccable roster of noise-rap and electronica producers. But then notice just how far behind Kanye’s knuckleheaded lyrics about sweet-and-sour sauce sex are, by comparison, to the record’s searing sonics. Note how absurd a pairing of “Strange Fruit” and his complaints about being persecuted by money-hungry women is in hindsight.

TIMELINE: Summer’s must see concerts

Almost everything that’s genuinely “cool” about these new albums comes from a reflection of someone else’s vision. Rap is built on smart curation and collaboration, and having a deft ear for a novel sample or lyrical allusion is an artist’s stock and trade.

But like a lot of the contemporary art they collect and name-drop on record, these albums get much of their worth from their associations — with money, with reputation, with taste, with youth and their experiments — rather than what original things they actually have to say.

Much of the conversation about the production on Jay-Z’s “Magna Carta” is about how the 16-year-old Canadian producer Wondagurl earned a credit on it, and thus probably changing her life forever with the blessing of rap’s titans.

But maybe it’s the reverse. I’d bet Jay and Kanye know, deep in their true artists’ hearts, that all the Samsung money on Earth can really buy you is proximity to other people’s good ideas. And the young blood they’re tapping to get there might finally be ready to call them out on it.

ALSO:

Review: Jay-Z’s ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ full of empty boasts

Review: Kanye West’s wildly experimental, narcissistic ‘Yeezus’

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