You could literally smell Mary J. Blige from like ten feet away. It was insane. It must have been all the product on her. If I didn't know what "fabulous”smelled like before, I do now. It was amazing, like a separate presence onto itself. She must summon that essence to hit her high notes, like Captain Planet.
Blige had actors come out and perform parts of her break-up songs, making me feel bummed about how none of my favorite groups ever do that. Come on, Mars Volta, try acting out your MadLib-esque lyrics. Also, that diamond-studded mike was kinda hot.
Jay-Z was great. No wedding or baby talk from the stage about Beyonce, even though in the back of all our minds we expected her to pop out sometime. He brought out Memphis Bleek a few times. The coolest thing was seeing Bun B and Jay do a tribute to the late Pimp C, so soon after his untimely passing.
There was a brief interlude for talk about Bush, post-Katrina politics and Obama. I will say I felt really white and nerdy. Each time Jay launched into a track, I started doing the dorky white guy hand movement thing. My girlfriend had to stop me a few times. But it was fun doing the Hova "Diamond" hand symbol with other people, rather than in my car on Highway 288 by myself. – Craig Hlavaty
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Photos by Craig Hlavaty