The very first time I heard “Made In America” was in August of 2011 at The Rose Planetarium. Jay-Z and his lil’ bro Kanye West smiled as they presented their joint album, Watch The Throne, to an invite-only audience. Lyrics like “I’m tryin’ to lead a nation to leave to my lil’ mans, or my daughter…” hit home, and by the end of the song, the theater was quiet as some of the hardest names in hip-hop dabbed at the corner of their eyes.
That feeling returned as I left the Philadelphia Parkway Sunday night (Sept. 3) to the sounds of Pearl Jam rocking out together for the first time since 2006. If day one of the Made In America festival was filled with jam-packed performances, meeting personal heroes and hanging out with the artists of my iTunes catalog, then day two was about reflection and personal motivation.