San Francisco Chronicle, June 30, 1987
By Joel Selvin:
The one called DMC looked out over the near 15,000 swaying, bouncing teenagers and started asking the questions that worried promoters, parents and city fathers alike.
"Where is the violence?" he asked. "Where is the racial tension?
"I don't see any violence," he continued. "I don't see any racial tension. I don't see any blacks or whites. All I see is party people."
While metal detectors at the gate to Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View and beefed-up security may have dampened the ardor of some of the more rambunctious "party people" at the Run-DMC/Beastie Boys show on Sunday night, the concert was a cheerful, enthusiastic affair, and not the brawl of hooligans that had been feared.
Incidents at shows by both groups in the past undoubtedly helped raise such concern. But, in reality, the Shoreline show proved to be a happy teen frolic, with an audience split almost evenly between black and white fans.
The two groups represent unprecedented platinum breakthroughs for rap music, the only legitimate street music trend of the '80s to strike the mainstream. While Run-DMC practically reeks of genuine urban ghetto life, the Beasties come off like a white-bread cartoon version of the real thing.
Not that the Beasties didn't invest their little exhibition with a certain inimitable flair. They sloshed beer around the stage, staggered and slipped on a dumped ice chest and generally disported themselves like nincompoops auditioning for a road show edition of the Three Stooges.
They discussed each other's most private physical endowments, and made ungentlemanly sport of one another and the audience, even going so far as to draw a couple of fans out of the front rows, the better for close-range abuse. Needless to say, the fans loved it.
In between such antics, the Beasties shouted and snarled doggerel odes to the pleasures of the grape and flesh, incantations to lust laced with forbidden words and couched in blunt, graphic terms.
They revel in their lack of talent, throw it in the audience's face, making it clear that any dumb yahoo in the crowd could do what they do and, in the process, they form a unique spiritual bond with their following.
Run-DMC takes its task more seriously. Jam Master J, the man who spins and scratches the records behind the bad brothers, makes mincemeat of the Beasties' pale counterpart. The laser effects lent a sense of grim purposefulness to the Run-DMC show, which served to underline the greater moral content of their essential message.
Run-DMC seems to want to address the issue of identity in modern society, albeit with the same kind of explicit, raw shock tactics the Beasties employ. While their diatribes, at first glance, may appear to be the same kind of generic ranting and raving of the Beasties, a closer inspection reveals the rap- sters' vision of rugged individualism, the need for strong personal commitment and an understanding of community. This is not just teenage wasteland.
Of course, the Boys stumbled onto the stage to join the Run-DMC guys in a joint finale, and it was strictly the Three Stooges meet Hope and Crosby, the Boys were so outclassed. Their only hope was to take a pratfall, and that's exactly what the head Beastie did, fall on his ass trying to stand on his head.
It was the entire show in microcosm.