Jay-Z, Pearl Jam Headline Successful Made In America Festival
September 4, 2012
Pearl Jam (photo: Jim Rinaldi)
The first-ever Made In America festival was a success over Labor Day weekend. Headlined by Jay-Z (who also organized the event) and Pearl Jam, the two-day diverse outdoor event brought thousands of music fans together on Philadelphia's Ben Franklin Parkway outside its iconic Museum of Art. Day One was headlined by Jay, and while rumors swirled his wife Beyonce would join him for a surpise performance, instead it was his Watch The Throne cohort Kanye West who appeared. The H-O-V's set featured a video message from President Obama (urging concertgoers to vote) and cameos from Freeway and Memphis Bleek, among others. West, Pusha T and Big Sean joined Jay for the encore of his show-closing set on Saturday night, capped by the Watch The Throne live staple "N****s In Paris" and fireworks.
Saturday's lineup also featured a heavy electronic music element, with Swedish dance act Miike Snow and EDM mainstay Skrillex on the bill, as well as the Indie Dance-Pop group Passion Pit. Janelle Monae put her own one-of-a-kind spin on futuristic-retro R&B, while D'Angelo continued his comeback with a set on the main "Rocky" stage. Rick Ross and his Maybach Music Group were another major draw on Saturday.
Day Two got off to a wet start with rain falling on Rita Ora's opening side stage set, but the rain held off for almost the entirety of Sunday. Playing to a slightly smaller crowd (Philly.com reports approximately 40,000 were in attendance Saturday, with around 34,000 on Sunday), the second day of Made In America was headlined by Pearl Jam. Philadelphia has long been one of the band's strongest markets and die-hard fans sung along to the rockers' numerous hits, as well as covers of The Clash, The Who and Neil Young. Their friend Chris Cornell had been scheduled as part of Made In America, and it was all but official they would team up for a Temple Of The Dog reunion. However, when Cornell dropped off the bill last week, Pearl Jam found a bigger surprise for their set: Jay-Z himself. After playing "W.M.A." in their encore, the Made In America kingpin himself appeared onstage, as Pearl Jam backed him up in a Rock version of his hit "99 Problems," driving the crowd wild.
Run-D.M.C. (photo: Jim Rinaldi)
Sunday's lineup also featured the reunion of Run-D.M.C., who had not performed together since the death of Jam Master Jay over a decade ago. The Rap icons found a suitable replacement though, in Jay's sons Jason (aka Jam Master J'son) and TJ (aka Dasmatic), who filled in behind the turntables. Philadelphia's own Santigold opened the Rocky stage with her unique dance-rock-pop sound, while Sweden's The Hives rocked the side stage. Drake drew a huge crowd to the Rocky stage before Pearl Jam's set. Philadelphia native Jill Scott brought another Philly favorite to the main stage in rapper Eve, as the pair performed Eve & Gwen Stefani's hit "Let Me Blow Ya Mind."
Jay and Beyonce were seen passing through the crowd all weekend, drawing throngs of fans following them throughout the parkway. Director Ron Howard, who filmed the entire festival for an upcoming documentary, was also spotted throughout the weekend.
Click here for a photo gallery of pictures from Made In America and here for photos specifically from Pearl Jam's set.