One minute I’m navigating back to school night, standing in line in the school gym, clutching myriad forms and checks, and sweating about getting my kid the band instrument choice he wants. The next minute I’m in the middle of a thumping sweaty rumpus at First Ave, right up close to the stage, crackin’ out my best, getting my hip hop on courtesy of these fine fellows. Dash and I went with Nanook, Gear Daddy, Crackerjack and Renaissance Man (happy birthday RM, fellow Virgo and lover of eighties new wave, good birthday, wouldn’tchasay?).
On this evening of all things back-to-school, the smell of hallways, chalk, and gymnasiums still fresh in my nose, we got SCHOOLED. We got old schooled, we got new schooled, we got knick knock paddywacked give the dog a bone, this old girl came rollin home. These professors of hip hop put on a great show. It’s the 20 Years High and Rising Tour, marking 20 years since their first and biggest album, 3 Feet High and Rising, dropped (see how I did that? I got the lingo, bitches) and they put on a show that emphatically said: we are still here, mother fuckers and thank YOU for still being here, mother fuckers! They went easy on the goof, heavy on the heavy, and scratched all the right spots with their genius rapping, sampling, scratching, and happy mahem inducing antics. It was really cool to watch a hip hop show backed by a smokin’ ten piece band (the Rhythm Roots Allstars) who really stood on their own but, combined with De La Soul, just amped it up to a whole other level. There were crazy bongo explosions (seriously, like three or four guys on bongos – awesome) and a full horn section affectionately introduced as Ghetto Brass (which made me chuckle given my afternoon of instrument wrangling with Saint James) and who floored us with a little Stevie Wonder: a bright, shiny, clear your sinuses, Sir Duke. Beautiful. Truly.
I’m not a professional, I don’t take notes, I don’t have the vocabulary or the knowledge base to really talk about music in a meaningful way but most importantly, I don’t want to miss anything. More and more, I’m finding that if I think about how I’m going to blog about something, it really takes me out of the moment, so I try not to do that. Ever. Consequently, I’m left with little more than ringing ears, a huge grin on my mug, sore muscles, and the vague notion that in addition to hopping us up on some good hard hip hop, these sampling geniuses tantalized us with a little Gorillaz, a little Steely Dan, a little Beastie Boys (Hey Ladies!!!), a little MJ, for sure some Run DMC. I know there was more, but I have a mind of swiss cheese.
And not for nothing, the last twenty years have been kind to De La Soul. They look great and they sound great. It was nice to be at a show watching guys our age working it out, and working it out really really well. It was an 18+ show, so there were plenty of babies in the audience to be sure. We even ran into Matt who works at the pool snack bar and knows to give us a heavy pour on the vino blancos, and bless his heart he was totally cool, casual and refreshingly not surprised to be running into a couple of pool mommies at the show. Every now and again they’d pan a big bright spotlight over the crowd going nuts and I amused myself imagining what Posdnuos would think of our little group dancing all dirty and freaky with our yoga arms up in the air and silly smiles plastered on our, ahem, super duper dewey and youthful looking faces. Every time I go to see live music I have a little age dysmorphia conversation in my head for a few seconds: Jeez, these people look like toddlers, ooh, hey, that one looks like a grown up St. James, cute! I should feel really old, but I don’t feel really old, what is wrong with me that I don’t feel really old? Fuck it, step aside slightly stinky, disaffected little one and watch a mama strut her stuff, WOOOHOOOO!
Sigh. It’s true. It’s really really true. So my take away from last night?
Mirror mirror on the wall.
Tell me mirror what is wrong?
Nothing child, keep keeping on.
And on and on and on and on.*
*OK, so I took some liberties with the last two lines. Sue me.