Friday, May 12, 2006

The Roots concert - whoa!

I'm not sure what was hotter, when ?uestlove did his solo drum set and got funky Caribbean, or when the Roots' guitarist took "You Got Me" to a George Benson level. He expanded the song for five minutes with Benson style riffs and scatting. But the best part of the concert at the Forum could have also been when entire band took it back to old school and new school hip-hop with medleys of current and old hits. I especially liked Ray Charles' "I've Got a Woman."

What a show. The Root's broke off favorites such as "The Seed," "Break You Off," "Don't Say Nuthin'" and "Hip-hop (The Love of My Life." But as always, their improvisation made the show special.

And Common. Man, I'd never seen him live before. Talk about energy. The Roots were cool, rocking the mike and playing their instruments like jazz cats, but Common jumped around the stage and the crowd jumped with him.. He mostly stuck with cuts off his newest disc, "The Corner," "Go!," "The Food" and "Testify." For "Testify" he brought a chair on stage and theatrical. Blazing.

My surprise of the night was Jean Grae. Last night, she made me want to buy her disc. Tight rhymes.

Kudos to the folks at the Forum. I wasn't sure how things were going to go. After all, moving a production of that magnitude to another venue with such short notice is not easy. And as much as I like the Forum, I couldn't fathom having a full blown concert there with at least 1,000 people because of the way the club is laid out.

It seemed to go well. The line to get inside moved relatively quickly considering that it stretched from the Forum down the alley toward the Museum of the New South. Once inside, the show was streamed to monitors and speakers throughout the club. I ended up on the balcony overlooking the dance floor. Much love to the lady upstairs on the balcony. She was in charge of the eye candy graphics, but she was nice enough to rig her camera to project the performance on her video screens. My girl Gigi helped my friend and I get into the Kool VIP section so we had an excellent view over the balcony and directly down to the stage.

I know everyone couldn't see because the club was packed and because of the stage layout it was hard to see unless you were on the main dance floor or along the stairwell. But hey, most people got in for free because they bought tickets for the Amos' show, which was cancelled, and they're getting a refund through Etix.

How often can you see or hear a Roots and Common concert for free?

Everyone I talked to last night left smiling and happy. Did you go to the show? What did you think?