red lights


Hip-hop elder statesmen older but,
thankfully, still as immature as ever

Beastie Boys
Alliant Energy Center
Madison, WI
Nov. 3, 2004
Beastie Boys
Adam "MCA" Yaunch
Beastie Boys
Adam "Ad-Rock" Horowitz
Beastie Boys
Mike "Mike D" Diamond

Review and Photos by Tony Bonyata

It's been six years since hip-hop's reigning royalty, Beastie Boys, last toured, but other than the gray hair peeking out from beneath the caps of these once snot-nosed NYC street punks, there was little else that pointed towards a more mature group of men - as witnessed during their current Pageant Tour in support of their latest album To The 5 Boroughs. In fact, Adam "MCA" Yaunch, Mike "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horowitz's live performance at Madison's Alliant Energy Center last Wednesday was as energetic, riotous and hysterical as anything they've ever done onstage before.
Beastie Boys Clad in matching Adidas jogging outfits, tan Hush Puppy shoes and cocked baseball caps, the trio performed three-quarters of their show with no instruments, instead only augmented by DJ extraordinaire Mixmaster Mike (flanked at the rear of the stage by state-of-the-art moving video screens), who held the fort down from high above the action in his DJ booth. Spinning and scratching at a furious pace, Mixmaster provided the perfect setting for these three wiry bozos to bounce over the sprawling stage like loose basketballs during a playoff game. Their humorous and lovable stage presence was highlighted by crowd favorites such as "Sure Shot," "Super Disco Breakin'," "Root Down," "Body Movin'," and "Shake Your Rump," as the three simultaneously whined and rhymed in their inimitable Brooklyn accents. But as much as the audience pogoed and jumped during these better known moments, they were also every bit as fervent during many of their newer numbers, such as "Triple Trouble," "An Open Letter to NYC" and the first single from To The 5 Boroughs "Ch-Check It Out."
Beastie Boys Despite the fact that these three hip-hoppers have long been known for their strong political beliefs (most notably their disapproval of the Bush administration) they, somewhat surprisingly, only made one direct political reference in response to Kerry conceding to Bush earlier that day. Instead Yaunch urged the crowd to live for the moment and dance, before they broke into a high-energy version of "Body Movin'."
Drastically changing both the tone and mood of the performance, the DJ booth was whisked offstage mid-show, as a smaller stage draped with stings of large glowing party lights was rolled out. There were more than a few audience members perplexed by the tuxedoed men playing instruments on the stage, until they soon discovered that it was the Beastie Boys (along with two additional musicians) who were laying down these organic jams. This was not the rap or hip-hop that the boys are better known for, but rather the funky often soulful music they first started exploring on their 1989 masterpiece Paul's Boutique and later perfected on Check Your Head and Ill Communication. Imagine Curtis Mayfield performing at your high school prom and you're getting close to the vibe that radiated from this odd, glowing stage.
After a short set change, however, it was back to Mixmaster Mike and the B-Boys' hysterical hi-jinks as they tore into "Three MC's and One DJ," " So What'cha Want," "Right Right Now Now," "Brass Monkey" and "Sabotage."
Back in '87 New York's Village Voice newspaper ran the fitting headline "Three Jerks Make a Masterpiece" in response to their debut album Licensed To Ill. It's been nearly two decades, six albums and multiple world tours since then, and there still isn't anybody in the world of rap or hip-hop that even comes close to the musical and onstage genius of these three lovable boobs.

Beastie Boys
Adam "Ad-Rock" Horowitz
Beastie Boys
Adam "MCA" Yaunch

What Do You Think?



City & State:

e mail:

Here's Your Chance to.... Respond!

Your feedback will be featured on
Rant or Rave within 24 hours.

Return to Reviews
Return to Menu