The first day of the Isle of Wight Festival 2010 got off to a bang with a blistering headline performance by Jay-Z.
Clad entirely in black and sporting his usual balls-to-the-wall swagger, rap’s CEO took centre stage for a relentless greatest hits set.
Bounding on to the main stage just before 10 pm, with the excitement and vigour of a street hip-hopper half his age, the Jigga man opened to a rapturous applause with the reply “wassup y’all”.
Launching straight in to one of his more recent releases ‘On to the Next One’, the 70,000 or so in the crowd were really bouncing – as was comedian Rufus Hound who seemed absolutely ecstatic about the explosive performance.
Classic references didn’t stop at Jay’s al-a-Johnny-Cash attire. Thundering through his more instrumental exploits, ever respectful of the eclectic festival ideal, ‘Death of Auto Tune’ set the island alight.
The historian in Jay-Z prevailed with a small tribute to Jimi Hendrix, who played his last major show here before his untimely death in 1970.
As the star dipped into ‘The Black Album’, the crowd were left in utter confusion and disbelief as none other than Kanye West took the mic for a show stopping flow in the middle of ‘Run This Town’.
Ultimately Jay-Z is a genuine showman, racking through the hits and leaving a touch of innovation for good measure.
Ever the statesman Jay took a leaf out of Nick Clegg’s book of public performance, thanking almost every person in the front row – “you, homeboy with the green shirt, dude in the Yankee hat, young shortie with the face painted, I love that shit, all y’all”.
‘Encore’ as an encore couldn’t have been more fitting although one imagines (he said it enough) “Jay could just go on all night!”
Earlier in the day Florence and the Machine made a difficult Jay-Z support slot come to life with big sound and a thundering show.
With fiery red hair, draped in flowing cream cloth, the outfit’s leading lady belted out her latest hits accompanied by souring harp melodies and beating drums.
Having been introduced as “the High Priestess” and with rumblings around the arena that “Florence should be Queen”, this Friday night support slot was a fittingly grand warm-up to a night of pop-chart royalty.
Over in The Big Top Marina and the Diamonds got the party started with an energetic display. Although references to Lady GaGa’s bizarre indulgent electro trappings threatened to undermine Marina’s stunning organ-esque vocals, along with some questionable outfitting (cheese burger mat and love heart sunglasses anyone?) all in all the crowd seemed pleased by her eclectic effort.
With the sun melting overhead Marina, Doves and Calvin Harris rallied through their hits to set the platform for a stunning first night.
Isle Of Wight Festival 2010 continues today (Saturday) with performances from Biffy Clyro, Blondie, Vampire Weekend and headliners The Strokes.
By Gareth Vipers.