Run the Jewels performing night 3 in Chicago, photo by Josh Darr

Editor's note: Variance was on hand to cover two of four nights Run the Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P) played at the Salt Shed in Chicago, on Sept. 27 and 29, part of the duo's career-spanning RTJX shows taking place in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles in celebration of their 10-year run together. The last shows of the tour are taking place this week at the Palladium in L.A.

“Hear what I say, we are the business today
Fuck shit is finished today
RT & J, we the new PB & J
We dropped a classic today
We did a tablet of acid today
Did joints with the masses and ashes away
SKRRRT! We dash away
Donner and Dixon, the pistol is blastin' away” 

These are the opening lines to "Legend Has It," and if you’re Run The Jewels fans familiar with the song’s video, which opens up with our favorite rap duo tripping themselves into a multitude of alternate personas in a police lineup. And you’d expect nothing less of them if you’d been with them from the start. Now, here's my secret: I wasn’t. But I'm grateful for whatever rock I luckily tripped over to find myself into their world. In the decade since launching their powerhouse duo, they’ve unleashed four records which got more explosive with the next, leading to an army followers chanting, “R - T - J !!” 

That echo was felt throughout the sold-out salt-factory-turned-venue, Salt Shed, as El-P and Killer Mike played two sets each night of a four-night stand in town celebrating 10 years together! I got an opportunity to capture both the opening night (Sept. 27) as well as their third night (Sept. 29) and wasn’t sure how to connect the two into one review, but then realized the guys made that easy for me as well. Each evening began with a DJ opener and then each night they were in town signified which album they’d be performing for us (i.e. 2013's debut Run the Jewels on night 1 and 2016's Run the Jewels 3 on night 3).

With a brief intermission in between, the pair returned to stage to showcase some of the favorite tracks from the other three albums. It was clear the momentum they had gained from their first evening to their third, as the venue filled up much more quickly and earlier, and the intensity of the set seemingly blew the roof off the shed. Whether this touring, four-night celebration in select cities is a victory parade of four solid albums or readying the crowd for Yankee and the Brave’s next chapter, my hope is for the latter.

At least for now, we can enjoy the experience in the moment. The two nights I enjoyed both ended similarly, and I feel safe to assume the other two nights did as well—with the crowd going, "RTJ!"

And the crowd goes (RTJ!)
And the crowd goes (RTJ!)
And the crowd goes (RTJ!)


Run The Jewels night 1 first setlist:
Run the Jewels
Banana Clipper
36” Chain
Sea Legs
Job Well Done
No Come Down
Get It
Twin Hype Back
A Christmas Fucking Miracle

Night 1 set 2:
Legend Has It
yankee and the brave (ep. 4)
Blockbuster Night Part 1
ooh la la
holy calamafuck
Nobody Speak
Stay Gold
Don't Get Captured
Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)
walking in the snow
Angel Duster

Oh My Darling Don't Cry

Run The Jewels night 3 setlist:
Talk to Me
Legend Has It
Call Ticketron
Hey Kids (Bumaye)
Stay Gold
Dont Get Captured
Thieves! (Screamed the Ghost)
Panther Like a Panther
Everybody Stay Calm
Oh Mama
Thursday in the Danger Room
A Report to the Shareholders
Kill Your Masters

Night 3 set 2:
Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)
Oh My Darling Dont Cry
Blockbuster Night Part 1
ooh la la
walking in the snow
a few words for the firing squad (radiation)