I just got in from seeing The Roots live, a free show that was a part of Carnegie Mellon University's Spring Carnival. I was practically the oldest one there but it didn't matter. This is the second time I've seen The Roots here in Pgh and the experience was just about the same as the last; THEY KILLED IT! rocking a 2 hour show that spanned Hip Hop, Jazz Fusion, Heavy Metal and even some Bob Dylan.
I don't own a single Roots album, yet I'll always go see them live because of the kind of show they put on. You can't top the energy, talent and skill these guys have. They are not just a hip hop band. Heck, they even have a tuba player in the line up this time.
Tonight, along with their usual set of Roots songs, they played their medley of old hip hop songs that I've heard them do before. But this time it started off with Iron Butterfly (In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida) that went into Incredible Bongo Band (Apache), then there was Talib Kwali (Get By) into Biz Markie (You got what I need) into Old Dirty Bastard (Shimmy Shimmy Ya) into Tribe Called Quest (Award Tour), some Snoop Dogg (Who Am I, What's my name) into Mims (This is Why I'm Hot), Afrika Bambaataa (Planet Rock) into Salt and Peppa (Push It) plus many more that I can't name but surely recognized.
The Roots also completely surprised and amazed me with a their own version of the Mars Volta 'Con Safro' which included them shouting Jame's Brown-like phrases back and forth like 'Get on up', 'Get in to it', 'Soul Power', etc.
Of course, their own songs were awesome too ... but what was most interesting was their 'break' between sets when Captain Kirk the guitarist, Damon "Tuba Gooding Jr." Bryson the tuba player and ?uestlove, the drummer, performed an epic 10+ minute version of Bob Dylan's 'Masters of War' that started off with the National Anthem and included some riffs from Led Zeppelin's 'Dazed and Confused', The Gap Band's 'You Dropped a Bomb on Me' and Jimi Hendrix's 'Machine Gun'.
Here it is performed at Bonnaroo in three parts:
Part 1 (Gap Band riff towards the end)
Part 2 (?uestlove drum solo with crazy effects)
Part 3 (Captain Kirk guitar solo with 'Machine Gun')
The Roots came back on and did a few more tunes, finishing with, of course, 'The Seed' but what made my night, and what threw the crowd into a frenzy was their short cover of Curtis Mayfield's 'Move on Up' at the end. Whooo!
A great night for a free concert (free parking too), beautiful weather and a decent crowd.
Note: BOOOO! to my friends 'The Jones'' and 'Clover' who bailed out on going with me at the last minute.