the next time the Roots are performing anywhere near you, GO SEE THEM. it could be your last chance for it in awhile… they’re retiring. no more Roots tours beginning March 09.
they’re the new house band for Jimmy Fallon when he replaces Conan O’Brien (which totally doesn’t make sense in my head, but whatever). this is cool, assuming the Fallon won’t stick up the place and fuck around and get cancelled. so, on the upside you get to hear them every night. on the downside, this means the death, or at least dramatic reduction, of live Roots performances, and that, my dear babies, is a HUGE loss. The Roots are hands downs one of the best live performers ive ever seen. its high energy, start to finish, always a long set, always full of your favorites peppered with incredible spontenaity and variation (the benefits of playing your own instruments vs rhymin over a lame ass instrumental blasted out of a souped up casio). and fine ass 5 foot black thought & Tuba runnin around gettin sweaty on stage.
my heart is definitely heavy over this. i mean im happy for them and all. them dudes is what, closin in on 50 years old? they prolly tired. lol.
and now, in closing, id like to share with you the first time i ever saw the Roots perform.
i was in college. either freshman or sophomore year, so this was in 2001 or 2002. i attended a teeny tiny racist ass school in Lexington, Kentucky, and during this time my roomate and i were always embroiled in a heated search for blackness. id spend days in the library camped out with a pillow reading books on the Black Power movement and nights downloading hip hop music that id never heard before, mostly east cost and underground shit that you cant find on the radio in KY. i had heard the Roots before, but id never *really* heard them, so i bought some of their music, downloaded some more, and was good. they earned a permanent spot in my cd player.
lol. cd players. seems like AGES ago.
anyway, one of the really sucky things about living where i was living was that i had little to no chance of seeing the acts that i was newly getting into in concert because really: who other than Juvenile and Young Scrappy would come to Louisville, let alone Lexington? nobody, that’s who. so, when i heard that the Roots were gonna be performing 2 hours away in Cincinatti, me and my friends bought tickets, piled into a car, and made the trip.
i forget what month it was but it was chilly out. i had on a black tshirt with a picture of gary coleman wearing a pair a headphones with “sucka mc” written beneath him. that shirt was awesome. i tried to find a picture of it but couldnt. anyway, we get to the spot early so we’re just hangin out outside when a boy comes walkin down the street and says to us:
“questlove is in a guitar shop down the street”
so of course, without thinking too much about it, we scurry down the block and spot the guitar shop. i didnt see him from outside, so i wasnt convinced that he was in there, so i was extra surprised when we walked in, turned a corner and saw him (spotted the fro first, of course). now, i am the most indiscriminate person ever invented, and i get star struck sooooooo easily. i think i might have actually hummed, literally and outloud, in an attempt to make it look like i really was interested in buying the guitar that i held upside down in my hands. so of course he spies us about to explode with the giggles we were keeping in, and he rolls his eyes and says:
‘yall come here often?’
i think we laughed then, i cant really remember. i think one of my friends had something for him to sign, but we ended up standing around him in a circle. he spies my shirt and compliments it and i get SO EXCITED omg; i thought to myself: that’s it. we’ve bonded. gary coleman has just brought us closer together.
so we say our thanks + goodbyes + good lucks, and head back out to the line, which still wasnt very long, thankfully. we ended up gettin spots right up front, right in front of the drums. @ the show’s end, quest throws one of his drumsticks into the audience, then looks directly at my friends and i, looks us over, then looks at me specifically. he holds the drumstick up, i stop breathing and think to myself OMG HE’S GONNA THROW IT TO ME! THANK YOU GARY COLEMAN!’
..then he rolls his eyes at me and throws it to my other friend.
can you believe that shit?!
true story, i swear to bob.
even still, i had the time of my life. i really, really hope that by the time my neice is old enough and over soulja boy & all other such bullshit, she’ll have a chance to see them on stage too.