Jul 13, 2013
JAY Z gives shout-out to the Rose Bowl, concert with Justin Timberlake
Jay Z performs at the Wireless Festival at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London in England on Saturday, July. 13, 2013. Thousands of people attended the event featuring headliner Jay Z. (Photo by Jim Ross/Invision/AP)
JAY Z will take over the Rose Bowl with Justin Timberlake this weekend, but that's not his only connection to the City of Roses; the rapper also gave the iconic stadium a shout-out on his latest album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail.”
On the sixth track of the producer/hip-hop star's latest album, JAY Z raps about his rise to fame and staying at the top, noting the Rose Bowl as part of that journey.
“High yellow sky dweller and the rose gold/ Legend of the summer in the Rose Bowl/ Came through Pasadena in the low-low,” he says.
Eric Lilavois, owner of Pasadena-based Crown City Studios, said it's only natural the artist would include his Pasadena tour stop in a song because the Rose Bowl is “as big as it gets.”
“It's a massive venue, it's like getting a half time Superbowl show in full length,” Lilavois said. “Pasadena is a little more on the map than I think us locals understand.”
Christopher Sampson, associate dean of popular music and industry studies at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, agreed that the Rose Bowl's stature and fame lends itself to some good bragging rights.
“I do think rappers and hip hop artists are very direct with what they want to be identified with and who they hang out with. A lot of times there are direct references to people in the industry and influences because there is an affiliation there that offers identity and perhaps even prestige,” said Sampson, who also lives near the Rose Bowl. “Again, I think this is really an indication that the Rose Bowl is sort of seen as this significant moment and platform and a significant affiliation for an artist of the stature of JAY Z.”
Sampson added that the show might also be a way for the rapper to break through barriers rap music has faced, including an assumption that hip hop artists are not live performers.
Nick Masters, chairman of the Southern California branch of ticket seller Live Nation, said the venue's prestige is exactly why it was chosen for the lineup of the Legends of Summer Tour, which also includes Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.
“The Rose Bowl is iconic, as a company we've been doing shows there for many years and everybody from Pink Floyd to U2 has played the Rose Bowl and it's a great setting,” Masters said. “This is not the kind of show that belongs in a field, it belongs in a setting that people go to and people can identify with and there aren't many places more popular than the Rose Bowl.”
Sunday's show sold out with 60,000 tickets. Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn said he hasn't done the final calculations yet but expects to make at least $350,000 from the show, significant for a stadium in massive debt due to ballooning renovations costs.
“We've had a great history of big shows in the past and I think now when we have these opportunities for something that can help the Rose Bowl and Pasadena it's something we hope to bring to the community,” Dunn said, adding that there is a definite possibility of more large concerts in the future. “We are really excited about it. It's going to be a very fun day.”
The concert festivities begin at 1 p.m. Sunday with a “picnic in the park” in front of the stadium offering music, games and food for ticket holders. The parking lot opens at noon for the picnic, and stadium doors open at 5:30 p.m. The concert is from 7-11 p.m.
Event organizers encourage attendees to arrive early to ease traffic. Metro rail lines, along with the Orange and Silver bus lines, will run later Sunday night to accommodate concert crowds.
Neighbors are keeping their fingers crossed.
“We live right near it, and from my view it's going to be loud and all that but the Rose Bowl has done a good job of warning people,” said West Pasadena Residents Association President Bill Urban. “I expect the traffic to kind of be like a big football game and noisy until 11. It's kind of life in the big city.”