The Roots, Erykah Badu & Dave Chappelle @Radio City
On Friday night I went to see The Roots. I thought I was going with GT, but at the last minute I discovered I was on my own. No problem cause I'ma hustla baby. At 8pm, showtime, I was sittin' pretty and ticketless at B. Smith's having drinks with my cousins (whom I introduced to Lady B herself who was having dinner with her hubby). At 8:45pm I was sitting mid-orchestra right on the aisle and next to a really cool sista, Safiya, who quickly became my Radio City Cut Buddy. Yeah, I got my NYC hustle on and used all of my Boogie Down bionics and ebonics and copped great seats! Don't ask cause I'll never tell.
By the time I got there I had missed most of Mos. But from all accounts I heard he was fresh. Jack Davey was J*Davey. I just don’t get it. I like their recorded ish so much, but live, well they just don't move me. As a matter of fact I guess that sentiment was shared throughout the arena cause folks started walking out to the concession stands like prisoners on the first day of work release. Rocking hot pants and a Native American headdress, Jack looked sexy as hell, but her vocals sounded so teany-- they just didn’t seem strong enough to handle the vastness of RCMH. Safiya leaned over and whispered: "She looks cute but so do most of the sisters here tonight so she really needed to come correct on her vocals and she is so not." She then showed me a text from her cousin who was also in the house and it read, "She's a hot mess!" On that note I headed out to get a drink. I was still feeling myself for making some very sly maneuvers earlier that evening that resulted in my wonderful seats, so I ordered Alize Passion on the rocks. Very Boogie Down! Like I said, I was feeling quite gully.
Next up was Dave Chappelle and he damn near stole the show. Yep it was the Dave Chappelle Show up in that piece for a good 10-15 mins. With lines or should I say, observations, like: I don't show up for sh*t. I don't even show up for my own show, so you know this has got to be hot, and I'm the very first missing Black person America has ever looked for, you know Dave was bringing the intellectual comedic goods. It was like homie was bursting at the seams with anecdotes. And considering the cancellation of his show I guess Dave did have a lot of material. I really don't know what was funnier his theory on Planet of The Apes and how the original title was probably Planet of the Ni**as or his philosophical musings about Iceberg Slim and how it is the key to understanding the game of life. He was so on point and had us so in the palm of his hand that when he paused to mull something over you could hear ice melting in abandoned cups back in the lobby at the concession stand.
After that everything and everybody was just jittering from excitement, awe and sheer delight. Well, that was until Bilal hit the stage. As soon as I heard those first notes I exclaimed, "Yo, I can’t believe he’s covering this song." As James Poyser and Kirk Douglass started eeking out those distinctively sonorous notes of Everything in its Right Place, I was floored by the selection and was crazy curious to see how shorty was going to rock this Radiohead joint. Needless to say he didn’t. He held onto and mangled the notes as he sang eeeehhh vreeeeeetheeannngg so that he sounded like a crackhead pleading for another hit, whining and screeching that he would give everythiiinnnng for just another hit. Even though he loved it, I hated it! This cat was so off key that he couldn't hit a note to save his life never mind this performance.
Moving along, the always beautiful Erykah Badu rocked the stage lovely. Singing a number of her joints including You Got Me, Other Side of The Game and Tyrone, she blessed the set and then in her usual gracefully gully way, she straight ripped it! We were on our feet from beginning to end and oh what an ending. After Badu walked out stage right, some dude entered from stage left wearing a hood over his head. All of a sudden we hear Public Service Announcement and the hood flies off and it’s muckingfuther Jay-Z in the house. What?! It was insane! I caught myself acting like a dang groupie at a Menudo concert. Everyone was screaming and jumping up and down. Madness! Of course he did Encore and in between all of that Hova-Baduism, The Roots jammed Pussy Galore, The Seed, Lighters Up and a bunch of other classics. It was an absolutely beautiful night!