Chuck D has always been one of my personal heroes. Hearing “Bring the Noise” for the first time in 1987 was one of those life-changing musical moments. I stood on a street corner across from the White House during the Gulf War protests in 1991, with a crowd of a hundred, singing “Don’t Believe the Hype.” I still believe that “Fight the Power” should have been the first hip-hop song to win an Oscar for Best Song.
But last night was the first time I’d ever had the opportunity to see them live. They did not disappoint. Some random observations after the jump.
I don’t go to live shows all that much, so I don’t know if its the venue or the sound mix or what, but somebody needs to realize that for a Public Enemy show, lyrical comprehension is kinda important.
During “Shut ‘Em Down,” Chuck pointed out that he’s skipping the Nike’s and wearing Starburys.
Scott Ian showed up to play guitar on Bring The Noise. He, Chuck and Flav sang the lyrics at about 2000 mph, and it was awesome.
I didn’t know Terminator X left the group in 1999. According to wikipedia, he runs an ostrich farm in South Carolina. Their current turntablist, DJ Lord, is phenomenal. He rocked a short solo using Rob Base’s “It Takes Two” and varying speeds, and it was breathtaking. He was also wearing a cool shirt that read “2 Parties. 0 Choices” I couldn’t read the other print on the shirt, though. Not sure where he got it from.
It feels really good to stand in a crowded room of people, raising middle fingers in the air and shouting “Fuck George Bush.”
I never quite realized how integral Professor Griff is to the group. It’s hard sometimes to feel his presence on the records, since Chuck and Flav are so dominant. And there was that flap back in the day about some allegedly anti-semtitc comments, which led to his “suspension.” But on stage, Griff was amazing, acting like a field marshall, keeping everybody on point. The S1Ws are still momentally silly, though.
One day, Flavor Flav will be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Mike Tyson was in the audience, standing on the floor with everyone else. They dedicated their new song “Harder Than You Think” to him.
Wu-Tang was also in the house, sitting up in the balcony. I couldn’t see them from where I was standing, but I wonder if they were diversifying their bonds in the wake of the market turbulence this week.
Flav announced, among other things, that there will be a Flavor of Love 3, that his roast on Comedy Central was the highest rated cable show that night, and that he recently learned he was related to GZA and ODB
I had to leave after “Fight the Power,” so I don’t know if they did an encore. I was hoping RZA would get on stage with them. Anybody there last night stick around longer?
Memorable song of the evening: “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” mashed up with the melody line from “Come Together.” Just epic.
Memorable moment of the evening: Flav rocking out his crazy Flav dance during “911 is a Joke” with his two teenage sons at his side, performing identical moves.
Four words: Flavor Flav drum solo