CULTURE

Will Jay-Z put end to summer of no-shows?

In the domestic concert circuit’s latest test of whether a public announcement for a touring show really means anything, superstar rapper Jay-Z is set to perform in Athens on September 19. The Jay-Z show has been promoted for months, bolstered by posters along city streets. If the show goes ahead as planned, with no glitches, it will both delight the superstar rapper’s fans here and rate as one of the biggest international celebrity shows staged in Athens in the last few months. Latin pop star Shakira made it here just weeks ago for a show while still at the height of her fame. So, too, did superstar rapper 50 Cent, who has collaborated with Jay-Z. But this New York rapper’s arrival would probably outshine both – if celebrity status and entrepreneurial power are a measure. But this summer’s numerous canceled events have jarred the local concert circuit, shocking fans and promoters alike. Several highly anticipated productions by major international acts, most notably the Rolling Stones, never made it to Greece. Many acts did not come due to poor advance ticket sales, but in the case of the iconic Stones, an injury sustained by guitarist Keith Richards was the cause. Just weeks ago, it was announced that Prince, another pop force, would be performing in Athens this month. The event’s organizer issued the details, but some doubted the event would ever happen. In the end, the Prince show was eventually scrapped. Meanwhile, the attention is now on Jay-Z, the CEO at Def Jam, a powerhouse record label in hip-hop. The music mogul and rapper is also a co-owner of NBA team the New Jersey Nets and had expressed interest late last year in investing in leading English soccer club Chelsea. The club’s owner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, reportedly rejected the rapper’s offer. There have since been rumors about investment interest by the rapper in another major London club, Arsenal. There’s a humanitarian aspect behind Jay-Z’s tour, in association with the United Nations, to raise awareness about water-shortage problems around the world. Whether this program’s formality binds the artist to his schedule remains to be seen.