The third annual TIDAL X Brooklyn concert on Tuesday featured performances by Stevie Wonder, JAY-Z, Jennifer Lopez, DJ Khaled, Chris Brown, and Fat Joe. Unlike the TIDAL X concerts from 2015 and 2016, the night went without a Beyoncé performance. She still appeared in the crowd, supporting husband JAY-Z in style, but never made her way to the stage.
For the third consecutive year, the concert served as a charity event, with this year’s proceeds benefiting hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida. Pride was on full display throughout the evening, with many Puerto Rican flags waving in the stands. Performers also repeatedly called upon concertgoers to either use their phone flashlights or to use the freely distributed LED wands to light up the arena.
Fitting such a great amount of star power under the same roof on the same night can be a difficult task, but Tidal pulled it off with a nearly six-hour show at the famed Barclays Center. DJ Khaled started his set around midnight, with Jennifer Lopez, JAY-Z, and Stevie Wonder still all slated to perform. Being able to keep an audience excited for such a long time is no easy feat, and there were definitely moments of the show where the crowd lacked energy. Still, performers did a nice job of exciting the crowd when it was needed.
1. JAY-Z glided through hits spanning (almost) three different decades.
In contrast to the first TIDAL X concert, Hov opened with “Empire State of Mind” rather than closing with it. He immediately jumped into a barrage of hits spanning the last couple decades of his career, bouncing from 4:44 to The Blueprint to Magna Carta Holy Grail and even dipped into The Black Album and Watch the Throne for a hot second. The Brooklyn-born legend appeared to genuinely have a blast during his set. “Wow,” said Jay-Z after calling on the audience for assistance with “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love).” “That was beautiful.” Well Jay-Z, so was the whole set.
2. Fifth Harmony wowed with infectious hits.
Fifth Harmony performed early in the night and didn’t have the luxury of an entirely packed house as a result. Despite the fewer-than-capacity numbers, the four ladies — all donning skintight pink latex ensembles — ignited the crowd for seemingly the first time of the night during their four-song set. After kicking off with “Work From Home,” they closed with “Down” sans Gucci Mane (congrats on the wedding by the way, Gucci).
3. Jessie Reyez delivered the performance of the night.
Though the name Harvey Weinstein was never uttered, Jessie Reyez delivered a timely and immensely powerful rendition of her song “Gatekeeper,” which tells the story of a predator who promises a woman fame if she has sex with him. The rocking showstopper earned her a standing ovation after she began her two-song mini-set with an acoustic take on “Figures.” Even if you don’t have TIDAL, it’s worth getting a free trial just to see this performance.
4. Powerful female voices with acoustic guitars won the concert.
In addition to Reyez’s beautiful “Figures” performance, Willow Smith delivered a five-minute performance that left the audience speechless. Earlier in the show, Victory put her own spin on “Feeling Good,” again using the acoustic guitar in her only song of the night. Finally, although not acoustic, Chloe x Halle incorporated guitar into “Up All Night.”
5. Stevie Wonder and Vic Mensa didn’t get the love they deserved.
Sure, Stevie Wonder’s set may not have begun until well after 1 a.m. ET, but that certainly does not excuse the masses that exited before his memorable performance. For those who left early, I regret to inform you that you all missed Beyoncé walking through the crowd to watch him.
Vic Mensa performed in front of a packed house, but didn’t get a functioning microphone until most of the way through the first part of his two-song set. Leaning into his new song, he gave strong performances of “Didn’t I (Say I Didn’t)” and “We Could Be Free” from The Autobiography, but it felt like the crowd was in a “U Mad” or bust mindset.
6. Jennifer Lopez is still “Jenny from the Block.”
Donning an all-red outfit and an accompanying red sequin New York Yankees hat (what say you, Alex Rodriguez?), Jennifer Lopez delivered a timeless performance of “Jenny from the Block” featuring dance moves and bats. She concluded her set with a shaking version of “On the Floor,” blasting confetti into the crowd during the song’s final chorus. The 48-year-old superstar hasn’t lost a step with her performances, getting the crowd hyped from start until finish despite her set coming roughly four and a half hours after the concert’s start.
7. DJ Khaled has connections. Like, a lot of them.
DJ Khaled serves predominantly as a hype man during his shows. During his set last night, he had a DJ (no, not himself) working his music as he stood front and center, equipped with only a mic in hand. He sped through a collection of his popular hits, providing can’t-miss dance moves and plenty of “Brooklyn!” and “New York!” screams along the way. He then told the crowd “they don’t want me to bring out special guests” before proceeding to bring out special guests, treating fans to appearances from long-standing rap veterans Busta Rhymes and T.I.
8. “I’m here for a good time, not a long time.”
Given the massive amount of artists that TIDAL X Brooklyn tried to squeeze into a tight window, some of the musicians were limited to only their biggest hit or two. Cardi B made the most of her time, bringing the house down with her No. 1 hit “Bodak Yellow.” Her few minutes on the stage might have been the loudest that the arena got the entire night. Luis Fonsi kicked off the show with a brief set of his own, obviously highlighted by “Despacito.” Barclays Center was not even remotely close to capacity at that point, so Fonsi didn’t have the same sort of crowd reaction. Other notable short sets included Daddy Yankee and Joey Bada$$, who delivered one of the better rap performances of the night.