Beastie Boys Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, left, the late Adam “MCA” Yauch and Michael “Mike D.” Diamond knew how to throw a party. Photo by Phil Andelman
This is from a Nov. 12, 2004, show at the Nassau Coliseum. I pushed back a vacation in order to see the Boys. Rest in peace, MCA.
Boys of the boroughs rap an ode to NY
BY KEVIN AMORIM
BEASTIE BOYS. Because they can’t, they won’t and they don’t stop. With Talib Kweli and Bob Moore’s Amazing Mongrels (is this what they call Beastie-ality?) at Nassau Coliseum Friday.
For a few hours Friday night, Uniondale — the Nassau Coliseum, to be precise - became an honorary slice of New York City.
The occasion was the Beastie Boys’ “To the 5 Boroughs” tour, the final U.S. stop for 2004. And from the first song, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” a favorite that’s almost 20 years old, the B Boys — Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Michael “Mike D.” Diamond and Adam “MCA” Yauch — planted a figurative NYC-rap flag onstage much like the Marines on Mount Suribachi. And, like those Marines, the Beastie Boys kicked butt.
Their matching Adidas sweats received a workout for the first part of the evening - bouncing through “Root Down” and “Sure Shot,” which manages the unlikely rhyme: “I’ve got more action than my man John Woo/And I’ve got mad hits like I was Rod Carew.” Multiply by three the balletic energy that went into some of Woo’s Hong Kong shoot-‘em-ups with Chow Yun-Fat, and you have some idea of the intensity of these middle-aged Boys.
Of late, the three rappers put most of their strength into the ABB campaign: Anybody But Bush. At the coliseum, aside from a funny video of Will Ferrell as W. down on the ranch, and one or two quips during the main set, the real political statement came at the end of the 90-minute show. The trio, fleshed out with a conga player and keyboardist, wielded instruments — Ad-Rock a guitar, Mike D. the drums and MCA a bass.
“We’re gonna have to end it on a bummer,” Ad-Rock said. “This song is dedicated to —- George W. Bush; it’s called ‘Sabotage.’ ” They should have warned the audience, which numbered around 6,500 before last-minute walk-ups, to leave their cochleas at the door.
What came before was less a political party and more an evening of party music. The three MCs were abetted by one DJ, Mix Master Mike, all night.
Nostalgic high points included “Paul Revere,” “So What’cha Want” and “Posse in Effect,” which featured Doug E. Fresh onstage beat-boxing it while the three Beastie Boys traded rhymes.
Even the most suburban of concertgoers felt pride during the group’s new love note to the city, “An Open Letter to NYC”: “Dear New York, I know a lot has changed/Two towers down, but you’re still in the game.”
Brooklyn’s Talib Kweli, endorsed by Jay-Z and touted on “Chappelle’s Show” no less, opened the musical part of the evening with tracks from the “Black Star” (Rawkus) album he did with Mos Def in ‘98 (“Definition”), as well as from the recent solo album “The Beautiful Struggle” (“I Try”).
The nonmusical opener — Bob Moore’s Amazing Mongrels — thrilled with various mutts performing life-and- paw-threatening (not really) stunts. While Skeeter and Ringo jumped through hoops, Fifi the Canine Knievel leaped off a towering ladder and into Moore’s arms.
Cute, but it’s a good thing the rest of the night didn’t go to the dogs.