After undergoing a major remodel, Hollywood's historic Palladium Theatre reopened with a bang Wednesday night thanks to an enthralling performance from Jay-Z and DJ AM. A sold-out crowd gathered for the set, which saw the hip-hop mogul and his DJ play for nearly two hours.
In homage to Frank Sinatra, the first artist to ever perform at the venue, Jay-Z was backed by a 12-piece band dressed in matching white dress shirts, black vests and ties. At one moment during the night he even jokingly referred to himself as "old brown eyes."
However, the story of the night was DJ AM, a.k.a. Adam Goldstein, who made his first public performance since surviving a fiery plane crash last month. Singing along, waving his arms, and even pulling out and pointing to his wallet during a classic Jay-Z line about money, the mix-master looked like he was certainly enjoying himself. When called out by the MC during an introduction of the band, DJ AM received deafening cheers as he placed his hand over his heart and waved a peace sign to the crowd. Jay-Z also took a second to mention ex-Blink drummer Travis Barker, who was also critically injured in the place crash, as well as the four others who sadly lost their lives in the September accident.
Jay-Z's performance ran deep into his repertoire. After taking a short break at the end of his first set, he emerged with a towel around his neck and took over AM's decks. The artist born Shawn Carter evoked screams and chants while playing snippets of crowd faves only to stop the song and start another seconds later -- kind of like a child with attention deficit disorder playing with iTunes.
The night was full of surprises -- including a Jay-Z's rant on politics, stressing his support of Barack Obama and the importance of the approaching election. But the set's highlight arrived with the introduction of T.I., who whipped the already ecstatic crowd into a frenzy. To calm his fans he gave out an unopened bottle of his favorite bubbly, Cristal. The night, chock full of left turns, also saw Carter dive into first verse of the Oasis' "Wonderwall" and rap over classic Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg beats while revealing his love for West Coast fans.
After commanding the crowd for the duration of his action packed performance, Jay-Z concluded with Black Album favorite "Encore" and walked offstage with the 12-piece band blaring the refrain.Sinatra would have been proud.
Jay-Z / Photo by Joe Chang