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last night's gig

Jay-Z and Eminem Brought All Their Pals to Yankee Stadium Last Night

High expectations almost invariably lead to disappointment. Last night at Yankee Stadium, high expectations led to 50 Cent wearing glow-in-the-dark clothing, Chris Martin trying really, really hard to fit in, and roughly one-third of the FIBA World Championship gold-medal-winning U.S. Men's basketball team in the crowd bopping their heads to every song. Expectations fulfilled!

During the set change, we had a chance to mill around and play spot the celebrity. Apparently LeBron James was tucked into some elevated VIP section, so we had to settle for Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, Danilo Gallinari, Tiki Barber, noted rap fans Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr, Joell Ortiz, Royce da 5'9", The-Dream, Oprah's pal Gayle, and Kanye's pal Aziz Ansari. Not a bad haul.

During the set change, we had a chance to mill around and play spot the celebrity. Apparently LeBron James was tucked into some elevated VIP section, so we had to settle for Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, Danilo Gallinari, Tiki Barber, noted rap fans Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr, Joell Ortiz, Royce da 5'9", The-Dream, Oprah's pal Gayle, and Kanye's pal Aziz Ansari. Not a bad haul.

That last one raised our hopes of seeing Kanye himself on the premises, and we didn't have to wait long. The first full song Jay-Z did was “Run This Town,” and right on cue, Kanye popped out for his verse, wearing the red suit and preposterous Horus chain you see above. And then he stuck around, for the first-ever live performances of the “Power” remix, then “Monster,” which also brought out Nicki Minaj to make funny faces and rap about eating brains. 'Ye ran through “Can't Tell Me Nothing" and “Good Life” before taking off, only to be replaced by special guest Swizz Beatz for “On to the Next One.” There was a brief, guest-free segment, broken up in style by the sounds of “Renegade” and Eminem. Then Jay settled into his usual all-commanding live presence groove, amping the crowd all by himself with the massive “U Don't Know” and “Big Pimpin'.”

So by the time Chris Martin loped out to do the chorus for “Heart of the City,” he had a fervent crowd to play to. That said, absolutely no one was happier than Jay himself to see his buddy Chris up on the stage, even if Martin kept awkwardly flopping his limbs in a close approximation of human dancing traditions. “Most Kingz” went into “Viva La Vida,” and then Chris was gone in favor of a newer friend of Jay: young upstart Drake, tearing through “Miss Me” and gushy declarations of love for Lil Wayne (did all these people share a flight together from the VMAs on Sunday?). Another live premiere, of the Drake-Jay collaboration “Light Up,” and the show trucked on. And then it was Beyoncé's turn to make a shriek-inducing guest appearance. With her smiley game face on, B took over Mr. Hudson's role on “Forever Young,” before flitting away to Jay's commendations: “That girl bad. That girl tough.”

And somehow, there was still more: “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” “Encore,” “I Just Wanna Love U,” and, of course, “Empire State of Mind.” Alicia Keys didn't show, but no one seemed to mind.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage