The Watch The Throne Tour was a co-headlining concert tour by American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West that began on October 28, 2011 in Atlanta and continued until June 22, 2012 with its final show scheduled in Birmingham. Originally scheduled for 23 performances, the tour was expanded to 34 performances in North America due to heavy demand for tickets; 29 shows were confirmed in the United States with 5 shows in Canada. Following massive success in the United States and Canada, Jay-Z & Kanye West announced the European leg of the tour on February 21, 2012 which featured 23 performances, bringing the number of shows to 57 all together.
The critical and box office performance of the tour have both been positive, with critics praising the production value, the elaborate stage design, and the large string of successful singles featured. The tour had very little promotion before its premiere, with the exception being behind-the-scene concert footage sponsored by Voyr. So far, the tour has grossed $48.3 million, making it the highest-grossing hip-hop tour and the eighth highest-grossing tour of 2011.
Mixing hits from both artists discographies, like "Can't Tell Me Nothing", "Good Life", "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" and "99 Problems", the show then segues into West performing "Runaway" and "Heartless", which has been described as "emotional highlight of the show". The most energetic part of the show has been reported to be during "Niggas in Paris", with "the track's Will Ferrell intro ("We're gonna skate to one song and one song only") brought on the moment that everyone was waiting for." "Niggas in Paris" was originally performed three times in a row, but as the tour progressed, the song was regularly performed up to ten times in succession, with the record being 11 times in Paris, France. Following other Watch the Throne tracks like "No Church in the Wild" and "Lift Off", the show ends with "Encore" and an inspirational rendition of "Made in America," complete with images of Martin Luther King Jr. and "sweet brother" Malcolm X flashing on the big screen.USA Today described the stage design:
This show was visually spectacular. There was a main, T-shaped stage where both entertainers performed together, and also two cube-shaped mini stages, one at each end of the arena, that rose and lowered at various points during the show. West and Jay-Z performed separately on these cubes, which showed various images (a snarling Rottweiler, a swimming shark) at different points of the show. Fireballs the size of car tires shot from the floor toward the ceiling during some performances. Two large video screens behind the main stage showed appropriate images during the performances; a virtually non-stop laser light show added to the oomph factor.
Critical reception towards the tour was positive. MTV News gave the opening show a good review, writing "While the WTT album has been noted for its opulent displays of wealth, Hov and Yeezy's show will be marked by the duo's overabundance of hit records."USA Today praised the duo's ability to get the audience excited, stating "at one point, as Jay-Z and West performed Niggas in Paris from their new hit CD, "Watch the Throne," West exhorted the audience to "Bounce! Bounce!" The resulting stomping had Philips Arena rocking and shaking in a way that it hasn't for the Hawks in a long time."Rap-Up mused "it was a crowning moment for Jay-Z and Kanye West as they kicked off the Watch the Throne tour to a packed house at Philips Arena in Atlanta on Friday night. The hip-hop kings, collectively known as The Throne, opened the most anticipated hip-hop tour of the year with a bang."Idolator stated that the tour featured "an epic set list that featured selections from each artist’s own behemoth catalog of hits as well as their Watch The Throne collaborations." The tour has grossed $48.3 million so far by the end of 2011, making it the highest grossing hip-hop tour and the eighth highest grossing tour of 2011.
London hosted the most Watch the Throne concerts (5), followed by Los Angeles and Paris (both 3).
Rihanna made a special guest appearance on the third date (20-5-2012) in London, performing her vocals on "Run This Town" and "All of the Lights". She is the only artist to have made a guest appearance on the tour.
During the last date in London (22-5-2012), Kanye West performed "Mercy" live for the first time.