By Gur Rashal:
Talib Kweli warmed up the Southern Cali crowd in high fashion, and did a fine job of it, but at 9:30pm, Michael (Mike D) Diamond, Adam (Adrock) Horovitz and Adam (MCA) Yauch, aka the Beastie Boys, broke it down. These Boys Entering Anarchistic State Towards Internal Excellence did just what their name represents, but added some external excellence in the process.
DJ Mix Master Mike got things started at the Long Beach Arena Tuesday night with scratching that included such samples as Jimi Hendrix and A Tribe Called Quest. The Boys followed this tantalizing intro with "Root Down," kicking the crowd into full frenzy. Wearing fully clad green and yellow Adidas track gear (and asking for audience approval for doing so), the set continued with fan favorites "Sure Shot," "Shake Your Rump," and "Egg Man." Unfortunately for the purists, it seems that the "Egg" was scrambled this time as the trio lost their rhythm, forgot the words, and then abandoned the song entirely. Don't worry, they mocked themselves before anyone else had a chance to.
The scene shifted about halfway through their set as the Beastie Boys went backstage while Mix Master Mike entertained; when they returned, they did so with the house lights turned off, riding onstage on a mini float complete with dangling lights. The Boys were now accompanied by fellow collaborators from The In Sound From Way Out!, Mark Nishita (keyboards) and Eric Bobo (percussion). Wearing snazzy yet cheesy wedding band tuxedos, they played a three song instrumental jam that reeked of gifted funk. Nice interlude between hits.
For several fans at the show, their personal lifespan to date doesn't weigh against the duration of the Beastie Boys as a group, who have been together for a modest 23 years and counting (with the addition of Mix Master Mike in 1998, replacing DJ Hurricane). Showcasing several songs from their most recent release, To The 5 Boroughs, including "Right Right Now Now," "3 the Hard Way," and "Triple Trouble," along with older favorites such as "Paul Revere" and "Brass Monkey," the Boys seemed to have as much fun onstage together as they may have had 20+ years ago.
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Nightcaps are usually the part of my evening that I truly look forward to, and tonight was no exception. The show's first encore featured a fervent performance of "Intergalactic" from the upper deck of the arena, while the second encore gave us "Gratitude" and "Sabotage" performed with the house lights on. Tonight, The Beastie Boys proved that with age, comes know-how, fat beats, and some kick-ass Adidas gear.