Jay-Z 9/11 Benefit Concert a Star-Studded Success

MSG concert benefits victims' families

Saturday, Sep 12, 2009  |  Updated 8:39 AM CDT
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Jay-Z performs during the 'Answer The Call' benefit concert at Madison Square Garden.

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Hip-hop star Jay-Z answered the call for a great show last night at Madison Square Garden, in a rip-roaring tribute to the firefighters, police and first responders who lost their lives at ground zero.

The 39-year-old Brooklyn native performed to a sold-out crowd Friday night for his "Answer the Call" concert, which paid tribute to the police officers and firefighters who died responding to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Is New York City in the house?" the entertainer asked as he took the stage, with 20,000 cheering fans calling back.  This was Jay-Z's only New York performance this year.

He called the tribute concert "my chance to do something to help out."  He is putting 100 percent of the estimated $1million profits towards the New York Police and Fire Widows and Children's Benefit Fund.

The Pledge of Allegiance kicked off the show, followed by "The Star-Spangled Banner" infused with an electric guitar. Jay-Z continued with his own New York anthems — including "Empire State of Mind"; "Where I'm From," a song about his upbringing in the Marcy housing projects complex; and "Brooklyn Go Hard," a collaboration with alternative singer Santigold.

Jay-Z's wife, Beyonce, dominated the stage with a swagger-jammed dance routine to her hit song "Diva."

Rihanna, in her first performance since her February altercation with Chris Brown, showed she's ready to return to the stage when she sang on "Run This Town." Kanye West also performed on the song.

"We stand here tonight eight years later even stronger, even stronger," Jay-Z yelled before the performance. "This is our own. We run this town New York City!"

The performers set a serious tone Friday night — wearing mainly black and gray onstage.

The crowd, who chanted "Hova," Jay-Z's nickname, between each song, never sat since the first song began.

On the eight-year anniversary of 9/11, the rapper — who has had major success on the charts and has garnered as much respect on the streets — hoped to add light to the tragic day.

"We should always move past it and be strong but never forget," he said in a recent interview.

Tickets to the concert were intentionally set low at $54.50 to make the show affordable to fans struggling amid the economic downturn, reports the Daily News.

But controversy arose this week after low-priced tickets showed up on the Internet -- being scalped for thousands of dollars.

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