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Fotografías: «Legends Of The Summer» en Toronto, 17 de jul.

Todo está listo para que Jay-Z y Justin Timberlake empiecen a escribir su leyenda en vivo. Baile, música, canto, efectos especiales y mucha sensualidad, entre otras sorpresas, darán forma a los conciertos de la gira «Legends of de Summer Stadium Tour» que ambos artistas han arrancado en el Rogers Centre de Toronto, Canadá. Con el inicio de la gira anoche, las estrellas hicieron explotar los ánimos y el entusiasmo del público que los alabó. Un total de 45 mil personas, según los organizadores, llenaron el recinto.

Timberlake, Jay-Z double-team Toronto for tour launch

TORONTO — What happens when a singer with the best-selling album of this year and a rapper with the current No. 1 album join forces to co-headline a North American stadium tour? The results are, as they say (wait for it), legendary.

The event: Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z kicked off their Legends of the Summer outing Wednesday night, drawing heavily on past hits and their newest releases, The 20/20 Experience and Magna Carta Holy Grail respectively.
The venue: Rogers Centre

While most fans outside the Rogers Centre are of the younger variety, Dev Tewari, 45, knows he’s one of Jay-Z’s older fans. Clad in an Eminem concert T-shirt he got in Montreal in 2011, Tewari isn’t bothered by the age difference. «I’m young at heart», he says with a laugh.

Custom tees: Two die-hard Jay-Z fans stayed up until 2 a.m. the night before making iron-on T-shirts. Nick Sue, 28, is wearing a homemade shirt featuring 11 of Jay-Z’s albums (he left off The Dynasty: Roc La Familia because it didn’t meld aesthetically). His friend Theresa Pacariem, 27, chose a black and white image of the rapper peering through his diamond-shaped hands to iron onto her white tank top because she wanted a photo of Jay-Z holding up the Roc Nation sign.

I dream of Drizzy: Darcy MacNeil, 32, says she’s hoping hometown rapper Drake makes an appearance. (She «stalks» him on Instagram and noticed he’s in Toronto.) Also revealed via Instagram, Beyonce was spotted with husband Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy dining at Cafe Nervosa earlier in the day in Toronto’s swank Yorkville neighborhood. Unfortunately, there was no surprise performance by Mrs. Carter: She played a show in Chicago the same night.

Blame Canada: Juhi Arora, 18, saved up money from her job to treat Ikhtiar Rashid, 18, to floor seats for his birthday. Neither are quite sure why the tour is kicking off in Toronto. «I figured it’d be Memphis where Justin is from, or New York or L.A»., says Rashid. «But I’m not complaining». Little do they know there’s actually a good reason why Toronto got first dibs on the show: It’s a dirty little industry secret that musicians prefer to kick off high-profile tours in Canada — Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver, specifically — to work out any glitches before heading stateside.

The merchandise: The color scheme of the official tour clothing is black, white and red. T-shirts sell for $40-$45. The black booty shorts that read «Sexy back» on the behind are a big seller, along with the red or white Justin T-back tanks, which feature the singer prominently on the front.

Crowd warm-up: DJ Cassidy spins old-school jams like Lionel Richie’s All Night Long and Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough as a sweltering crowd claps and chants along.

Red-light district: The massive stage is bathed in red as the show begins, with the entire band also wearing the color of love. Huge rectangles of descending size add depth to the stage while also providing plenty of screens to project images and video on.

The start: The band takes to a multi-tiered stage and the opening notes of Holy Grail play as Justin appears on the left side of the stage. Black-and-white images inspired by the album cover’s Alpheus and Arethusa sculpture are projected on the screen. «Toronto, sing it along with me», Timberlake yells during the verse.

Multi-level play: The 14-piece band and four backup singers perform on four tiers of platforms.

Warm welcome: «Wassup!» Jay-Z says. «We came to party with all, you ready to party? Let’s go!» And with that he launches into I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me).

Guitar god: JT appears playing the guitar for Like I Love You as giant scaly snakes are projected as if wrapping themselves around the stage.

All hail the female body: Timberlake raises his hands to conduct the crowd through My Love while extreme closeups of the female form pop on and off the two huge video screens. He takes time during the chorus to show off a few bounce-and-leg-drag dance moves.

Love is in the air: Justin exits as Jay-Z celebrates the opposite of traditional love with Big Pimpin’. He’s shed his white button-down already and is clad in all black (black T-shirt, black jeans, black Brooklyn Nets cap), but still wears his gold Roc-A-Fella chain.

Back and forth: After opening the show together, the duo has found a new rhythm with one performing alone for a song or two and then handing it off to another. It keeps the beginning of the show moving at a frantic pace and is a testament to their deep catalog of hits.

Best sidekick around: Jay-Z lauches into a solo set starting with Jigga What, Jigga Who but Timberlake isn’t far away, playing guitar and singing hooks for the rapper.

Crank it: Jay-Z assesses the crowd level. «I feel like it’s a 7. We can’t be at a 7. It’s the start of the tour». The crowd begins to yell louder and squeal increasingly as Jay-Z asks them to take it up to a 10, then a 20, then 50. Finally, he says, «We have to turn it up, turn it all the way up to 99». He quickly launches into 99 Problems. Massive explosions burst all over the screens and he eventually segues into the Aerosmith/Run-D.M.C. hit Walk This Way.

Life + Times of S. Carter: Jay-Z is clearly flying high off Wednesday’s news that Magna Carta Holy Grail is his 13th No. 1 album in Billboard. Plus, he yells to the crowd, «I’ve got the No. 1 album in Canada!»

On to the next one: Jay-Z caps off a longer set which includes his verse from Kanye West’s Clique, Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) and Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love) before handing things off to Timberlake.

Triple the love: The stage is transformed into a black-and-white art deco look as JT slows things down to pay homage to the L-word, which has likely taken more meaning since his wedding to Jessica Biel. He starts with Pusher Love Girl, then moves into Summer Love and keeps the theme going with LoveStoned/I Think She Knows Interlude.

Light footwork: «I want to see you dancing on this one», says JT as the percussive drums of Let the Groove Get In fill the stadium. Sorely missing on this tour are his fantastic dancers, but the backup singers pull double-duty as they’re called to the front of the stage to two-step with their boss.

Up next, part 2: «Can I do something new?», Timberlake calls out to the crowd, which yells «Yes!» in unison. «Like brand-spanking new? Like baby-butt-spanking new?» Convinced the crowd is wanting this, he starts with his just-released Take Back the Night, which will appear on The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2. The energy dips as many of his fans are still unfamiliar with the track.

Real men cry: The waterworks start to flow, figuratively at least, when Jay-Z appears bathed in a red spotlight for an emotional rendition of Song Cry. As he leaves, Timberlake continues with the themes of breakups and infidelity, with his Timbaland-produced hit Cry Me a River. The crowd immediately jumps to its feet and sings along to every word. There are abstract raindrops and dramatic visuals of water splashing on the screens.

Rewind that back: When the reception to the first notes of Tom Ford fails to ignite the crowd to his liking, Jay-Z cuts off the music to ask: «I thought Magna Carta was the No. 1 album in Canada?» Once the crowd promises to up their game, he has the track taken back to the beginning, and the crowd bounces with renewed energy.

Ode to the Big Apple: JT appears in a spotlight wearing a short-sleeved black button-down over a black tee to channel Frank Sinatra and croon New York, New York. The crowd knows what’s about to happen before the tinkling piano of Empire State of Mind comes in. It feels like all the people in the stadium is singing the chorus at the top of their lungs. Jay-Z cracks a smile and points up to the rafters.

Here’s looking at you, babe: When Timberlake launches into Mirrors, the song that seems to be on constant loop on Toronto hit radio, he takes the concept of reflection literally, turning cameras onto fans in the audience who are then shocked to find themselves shown on the video screens.

Diamonds are forever: When Jay-Z performs Encore, a sea of arms go up waving his signature diamond-shaped hand-sign. The crowd continues to chant «Ho-va» long after he’s left the stage.

Bros until the end: They change quickly into dapper suit jackets for the encore of Timberlake’s Suit & Tie. Jay-Z is in a celebratory mood, sipping from a Champagne flute. They dedicate their last song of the night to Trayvon Martin and ask the crowd to light up the venue with their cellphones. The stadium sparkles and they close the night with Timberlake singing the chorus of Alphaville’s Forever Young that easily transitions into Jay-Z’s Young Forever. The night ends with the crowd singing along a cappella, «Do you really want to love forever? Forever young». Jay-Z caps the night with an important message for his adoring crowd: «Peace and love».

Next stops: The tour continues in New York with two stops at Yankee Stadium (Friday and Saturday), then Chicago’s Soldier Field (Monday).

Concert Review: A comprehensive guide to Justin Timberlake and Jay Z’s Legends of Summer tour

Justin Timberlake and Jay Z’s Legends of Summer tour officially kicked off at the Rogers Centre Toronto on Wednesday. Their set, which spanned nearly three hours and 40 songs, mostly lived up to the hype. Here is an in-depth look at what you can expect if you’re going to see the show over the next few weeks.

Do Jay Z and Justin Timberlake perform together?
Yes, though, not as much as you might hope, and not nearly as much as Jay Z performed with Kanye West during the Watch the Throne tour a couple of years ago. To be fair, Jay and Ye had an entire new album of collaborative work to draw from, not to mention numerous joint tracks from their solo records. What I would have expected a bit more of was dropping vocal samples from, say, Run This Town or SexyBack. No dice.

Two icons, one stage: does a champion emerge?
Oh yes. Let’s put it this way: this is so much Timberlake’s legend-making tour that I’m not sure why Jay Z wanted to get on board. Outside money. Where Watch the Throne was mutually beneficial to Jay and Kanye, Jay’s presence here merely lent cred to Timberlake. His songs dominated the set and his charisma dominated the stage. The funny thing about Jay Z at Watch the Throne was that he was essentially the star because he was the more likeable and accomplished half of the duo. But Timberlake might be the most charismatic man alive, and his energy easily eclipsed Jay’s. The former *NSYNC star also spent a lot more time on stage and played numerous instruments on it. It feels like there is so little he can’t do.

Hmm. Was Jay Z any good at all?
Sure. PSA, 99 Problems and Heart of the City were all fantastic. And I’ll give the material from Magna Carta… Holy Grail this much: while in your car or on your stereo you can hear how bad the LP is lyrically, some of the beats are pretty great, and that makes all the difference when you’re hearing it in a baseball stadium.

Sounds like Timberlake was pretty great. Was he flawless?
Pretty much.

I mean, there are Timberlake songs I straight up don’t care for — disposable radio pop that showcases his voice but not his songwriting skill. But on the whole, the best of JT — Mirrors, My Love, Cry Me a River, Rock Your Body and What Goes Around… Comes Around were all given full, faithful airings — would rate a five-star night in just about any circumstance.

This still feels like it should be in an arena. Can they legitimately fill a ballpark?
I might have preferred to see the Legends of Summer tour at the Air Canada Centre, but I’ll still say yes to the question. I’ll also say this much: the music and performances — especially with Jay Z playing definitive second fiddle — probably wouldn’t have done it on their own. The stage sells it. An impressively massive red structure before the lights go down, it is later revealed as an ambidextrous light and screen factory, one that I imagine would have looked as stunning in the 500s as it did on the floor.

So I should go see this?
You should. If only because this tour positions Timberlake as the pop star of this generation. It’s actually fascinating to see how brightly his star shines in this setting. Hopefully his next Hollywood break doesn’t take him out of the game for nearly as long.

Jay-Z And Justin Timberlake’s Legends Of Summer Tour Is The Show Of A Generation

TORONTO — If there is a better summer date concert, it takes place in an era long ago or a generation far away. For the titan-clashing team-up of arguably the greatest MC ever and a multitalented pop icon who returned to the stage after a six-year musical hiatus is made for him and her.

Even without hearing a single couplet, you know Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake’s month-long Legends of Summer tour, which will touch 12 cities in North America, is strategically brilliant. Both artists are peddling new albums, so it’s fitting that the night opens with Timberlake singing the hook for Jay’s «Holy Grail» and climaxes with Jay rhyming on Timberlake’s «Suit and Tie», the champagne flute his only instrument.

As for what happens in between, well, it helps that J.T. can do a mean Pharrell. Although Jay-Z and J.T. each get solo mini sets, it’s their collaboration that makes Wednesday, in Mr. Carter’s words, «a special night».

The consummate pro, Jay-Z strolls around in his gold chains and Nets strapback, effortlessly spinning gems; «On to the Next One» and the new «Fuckwithmeyouknowigotit» sound better big and live. Not only does Jay have the support of an 11-piece band, but J.T. runs around the stage to help him out, singing Pharrell’s parts on «Frontin’ « and «Give It to Me», strumming guitar during «P.S.A»., and playing the cop’s part in «99 Problems».

Seeing a superstar so willing to be the setup man is refreshing. Of course, Timberlake gets his shine, too, winning with «What Goes Around» and «Senorita»; The 20/20 Experience’s «Mirrors» becomes a female singalong. The guys have hits.

If you want to nitpick, you can. «U Don’t Know» would pack more wallop had the DJ just let Just Blaze’s beat run; a band can’t do that track justice. Timberlake’s solo set begins to lose steam around «Take Back the Night», the only time any fan could be spotted actually using the seat for which they paid handsomely. And entire swathes of Jigga’s back catalogue go ignored. American Gangster, In My Lifetime Vol. 1 and Reasonable Doubt (gasp!) don’t get any love. Even low-hanging fruit from 2011’s Watch The Throne—no «Niggas in Paris», that was last tour—isn’t plucked.

Such omissions, however, are bound to happen when you have a dozen studio LPs and more hits than the show’s 160-minute running time will allow. The magic, as was the case in past Jay-Z co-headline blowouts (Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Eminem) is in the hand-offs and assists.

In a building packed with 60 percent women (rough estimate), Jay’s lone slow jam, «Song Cry», scorches then disintegrates into J.T’.s «Cry Me a River», reminding us these happily married men wrote more interesting lyrics when there was a little dirt on their shoulders and smudges on the mirror. And Timberlake crooning Frank Sinatra’s «New York, New York» while bathed in a lone spotlight serves as the perfect hype-up for «Empire State of Mind»—a combo sure to score at Yankee Stadium later this week.

Yes, the party is as well calculated as it is executed, following a structure and hit list Jay-Z is comfortable with. Even within the cavernous dome of Rogers Centre, there is no space for improvisation, no illusion that the masters are making it up as they go along. It’s a business, man.

Still, Legends of the Summer favors elegance over excess. The lighting and splashes of video—in keeping with the aesthetic of Magna Carta and 20/20—complement the songs, but there are no fireworks or roll calls of dead MCs or gratuitous video interludes. There are too many smash songs to be heard.

So when J.T’.s «My Love» bleeds into Jay-Z’s «Big Pimpin'», and everyone’s wearing shorts or skirts, and the home of a losing baseball team is suddenly batting a thousand, there is no excuse not to bounce.

Justin Timberlake Is Frank to Jay-Z’s Dean On Legends Of The Summer Tour

When Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake first announced their Legends of the Summer tour, it seemed like a pretty even match-up, if favouring the actual legend onstage, Jay-Z, who dropped his all-time classic debut «Reasonable Doubt» in 1996, back when Timberlake was barely known for his brief stint as a Mouseketeer.

But it looks like Jay-Z may have to learn how to play second fiddle if Legends of the Summer’s launch at Toronto’s sold-out Rogers Centre is any indication because Justin Timberlake shockingly stole the show.

Jay-Z has been upending the traditional notion of big headliner and small opening act since back in 2003 when he brought along 50 Cent on tour at the height of his Get Rich or Die Trying popularity. Though those crowds were mostly excited to hear the bullet-riddled «In Da Club» rapper, Fiddy was quickly put in his place when Jay waltzed out and proved why he topped the bill as he rolled out hit after hit after hit.

He raised the stakes a few years later with a star-crossed co-headlining tour alongside R. Kelly, which collapsed in chaos after their battling egos became an actual battle — Kelly told the crowd at Madison Square Gardens that people were waving guns at him and then refused to perform, a scuffle backstage resulted in Kelly being pepper-sprayed and sent to hospital while Jay went on radio afterward claiming the R&B singer was too ‘insecure» to handle the crowd’s love for him.

Last year’s Watch the Throne tour was a more collaborative co-headlining bill with Kanye West, with the pair taking turns doing solo sets and joint performances from their Watch the Throne album. But Hov remained the alpha dog because he’s maybe the only person in the world that ‘Ye places above himself, a relationship established back when Jay hired a then-unknown Kanye to produce his classic Blueprint and then released the producer’s rap debut, The College Dropout.

So Legends of the Summer is the kind of tour that Jay-Z does, and he does them because his dominance has never before been an issue. Besides, as much as Timberlake is loved, he only has three albums, with the first being uneven and the third, «The 20/20 Experience», but a few months old.

That turned out to make no difference, though, since the pinnacle of JT’s performance, that epic moment when a song shoots for anthem and the crowd gets their damn hands up, was actually his latest single «Mirrors», cementing its future-classic status.

Jay-Z, on the other hand, peaked with «Empire State of Mind», but the crowd catharsis came from singing along to the taped Alicia Keys chorus rather than Jay’s fleet-footed verses. And even that song was bookended by Timberlake crooning (!) «New York, New York» like he was a ’50s big band leader. (Hell, he is a big band leader now, with his 15-piece Tennessee Kids backing both artists performances.)

Maybe the issue was the sheer size of the football stadium, which made it more difficult for the 50,000 fans to appreciate Jay’s ever-present virtuosity. Certainly he didn’t lack in classic hits, and the excitement level went way up on more rock-oriented jams like «99 Problems» and «On To The Next One» or beloved anthems like «H to the Izzo».

But Jay-Z’s thing is that he’s cool, collected and incredibly skilled, but that also means his general energy level is pretty low-key. Timberlake, however, is an old-school showman, singing and dancing, playing piano and guitar and defeating the size of the stadium to bring the crowd into the performance, especially on epic slow-burners like «Cry Me A River» and «What Goes Around.. Comes Around». He even brought them onside for his «baby butt spanking new» just-released single off his next new album, the Jackson-esque «Take Back The Night».

They also shared the stage for a good portion of the show, albeit with Timberlake participating more in Jay-Z’s tunes than the reverse, voicing the cop on «99 Problems», singing the hooks on «Heart of the City», «Frontin’,» and others while playing instruments on still more. In fact, his not-singing the hooks on «Empire» or «Run This Town» felt like squandered opportunities, especially after opening with «Holy Grail», the pair’s title-track collab off Jay-Z’s current number one album «Magna Carta Holy Grail». Though, again, that really came off like a Timberlake tune with a Jay-Z feature despite it actually being the reverse.

The emotional highlight of the show was also a shared performance, with the pair following their lackluster encore collab «Suit & Tie» with a moving, Trayvon Martin-dedicated take on «Young Forever».

There’s no doubt that Legends of the Summer lived up to its epic billing, but as the duo walked off in their suit jackets, it was clear that Justin was the surprising Frank Sinatra and Jay-Z would have to settle for being Dean Martin.

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