The Meadows kicked off its 2017 edition at Queens' Citi Field on Friday (9/16). Jay-Z made his return to NYC with a headlining set that spanned his career, and, like at Philly's Made in America festival, included a guest appearance from Damian Marley. Billboard reports:

"I want to dedicate this song to Colin Kaepernick tonight," Jay said halfway through. "I want to dedicate this song to anyone who was held back." He then ran through "The Story of O.J.," one of the most-discussed songs off his latest LP, letting the Nina Simone sample run at the end to emphasize his point. "Oh, y'all ready tonight!" he laughed after beginning and the cutting short the start of "Ni---s In Paris" -- before having the crowd count down to the beat drop as he started the song over again.

For nearly two hours, Jay reminded the crowd -- not that it was in much doubt -- that there are few, if any, better hip-hop ambassadors for the city. Ever the businessman, Hov was efficient in running through the hits -- a notably seamless transition was "Give It 2 Me" into "Big Pimpin" -- but still found time to let some emotion bleed through.

"I want to make a dedication to a great man who's no longer here with us," he said before introducing his penultimate song. "Chester Bennington from Linkin Park." After previously dipping into LP's "Points of Authority" instrumental during the second verse of "99 Problems" -- as their mashed-up version did on the collaborative Collision Course album -- he delivered that album's hit single "Numb/Encore" in its entirety, asking the crowd to sing along to Bennington's "Numb" hook. A heartfelt "Forever Young," with the lights down by request, sent those assembled into the night with no complaints.

Day one at The Meadows also had sets from Run the Jewels (who brought out Zach de la Rocha for his part on "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)"), Joey Bada$$, Tegan & Sara (playing the final show of their Love You to Death tour before they embark on a run of The Con tenth anniversary shows), Blood Orange, Lizzo, Sky Ferreira (who battled stage fright and covered The Commodores' "Easy" from the Baby Driver soundtrack), and more. See pictures in the gallery above.

The Meadows continues all weekend, and if you can't be there, it's streaming live via Tidal. Don't miss our list of 12 NYC artists to see at The Meadows, and stay tuned for more from the festival.


photos by Em Grey and P Squared

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