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Today is:
The Roots Album Release Party Review
by Rame

The Set Up

It was Tuesday July 13 th and The Roots dropped there latest and most ambitious album the Tipping Point , for those of you who missed their outdoor performance at Tower Records on South Street had a second opportunity at Emerald City . Not only was it a chance to see the hardest working band/group in Hip Hop, but we would be treated to the likes of Talib Kweli, Freeway, Musiq and host of special guests. Much to the delight of the Philly fans the concert was free all that was required was a voter registration card, registering online or register right there at the front door. Ingenious what's better then encouraging youth to vote then by throwing a free concert for doing so, hats off to the event planners.


Emerald City

8:00 pm

The information we received told us to pick-up the tickets at the front door between the hours of 8-11pm. Sensing the line would be outrageous we got there at 8pm, problem is so did about 85 other people. This is by no means a long line considering it eventually snaked around a whole city block. After an hour of waiting in line two people in my party had the urge to relieve themselves and proceeded to walk to Silk City in hopes of using the facilities to purge themselves of the free liquor form the Death by Chocolate exhibit sponsored by Godiva (thanks Paper - Street). My companions departed and I was left to conduct varying conversations about chewing gum and Gill Scott Heron, interjected by the random proclamation from some woman in front of me that her feet hurt.

9:00 pm

My two companions return triumphant and relieved and maybe 10 pound lighter. I on the other hand began to feel frustration ever so slightly creeping in under the guise of my feet also starting to hurt. No matter I'm here for a free concert and if I'm lucky someone will take pity on my poor soul and bestow upon me a VIP Pass (now I know I'm not a Very Important Person, but in the grand scheme of things who is?).

9:45 pm

As my thoughts drifted between obscene hunger and the agonizing pain shooting through the soles of my feet semi-relief came in an unexpected way. An acquaintance of ours met through a GeoClan Juke Joint (shameless promotion, sorry) who so happens to work at Miskeen offered to move us to the front of the line. Ah, the moral dilemma, how would the 85 people in front of us react to the three people moving to the front of line, then again it's mot as if I formed some close bond with my fellow line jockeys, besides my feet hurt and the only way to console myself was to move to the front of the line.

10:00 pm - We're in

This being my first time in Emerald City I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was fairly spacious and more importantly they had couches. I obliged my aching, sore feet and sat down. Our first goal was complete, we got in. The second had yet come to fruition, the proliferation of VIP passes. The hunt was on.

10:15 pm -The Hunt!

I was dammed if I spent two hours waiting in line only to watch the roots live on a TV screen I can pop in my Phrenology DVD for all that. Eventually out of our party of three, one got a VIP pass. My happiness for them didn't last long as I came to realize that I and my associate weren't going to get a pass. No matter family looks out for family and we finally finagle our way pass the bouncer and now resided in the coveted live performance area. I looked around at the people that were more important than me and felt a wave of rebellion crashing down on me. It always feels good to stick it to the system and thumb your nose at authority. My partner and I hatched a coup de main of the highest order, we were in VIP and we weren't even VIP.

11:15 pm - My Feet Hurt

It's hot, it's crowded, I need some water and my feet hurt. As time went on it seemed everyone, but me was VIP. The room became overcrowded and before long everyone was standing shoulder to shoulder and agitation quickly set in. Though the DJs did their best to quell the chants of WE WANT ROOTS the masses could not be tamed. The smell of the Roots was in the air and only the musical life blood of the legendary crew would prevent the nocturnal crowd from seeking the blood of the lowly stage hand who walked on stage to do various sound checks, I feared for his health and well being.

11:35pm - Rame's Law

What do you mean your leaving we just staged the biggest concert revolution (getting into VIP and we're not VIP) and your leaving. I think I now know how Castro felt when Che left or when. never mind I like that analogy I'll stick with it. So I tried to rationalize with my friend, I mean he knew as well as I did that the concert would start in 15 minutes after he left. I think it's part of some universal law, like Newton 's Law of Gravitation or Pavlov's Law, I like to call it Rame's Law.

Yeah, that's when only good and cool things happen 15 minuets after you leave an area. It happened numerous times when I was a child, the street lights came on and usually I went home, the next day I would hear about the juicy events that took place 15 minutes after I left. He concurred with my theory, but finally conceded to the pain in his feet his/the shoes were too tight (another story for another day) and there was no blood circulating to his feet, he was done for the night. The good byes were said and I stood their alone in an ocean of blood thirsty fans.

11:45 pm

I located my other companion and we stood in the back of the stage area to grab fresh cool air (the back doors were open), then all of sudden the unmistakable sound of a guitar riff and a drum snare explode into the tobacco filled atmosphere. Almost immediately there was a mad rush to the stage and we obliged the music monkey in us and also bumped and pushed and intimidated our way to the front. It was 11:50pm Rame's Law purveyed once again.

11:52 pm - This is Free!

Admittedly I haven't seen The Roots live in about three years and I remember paying about $40 for a ticket. Well fast forward to 2004 and not only are the roots performing old and new songs, but then Musiq enters the stage. The screams from the women around me damn near pierced my ears, but it's hard to complain when Philly shows love for its own. Musiq capped off his appearance with a rendition of Break You Off that keeps the crowd hands waving. Next up we have Talib Kweli and the crowd goes wild. Talib leads off with Double Trouble and finally ends with Get By and let me tell you the fist were pumping so hard you would of thought you were at a Public Enemy concert, Talib's performance was definitely one of the highlights. Next was another Philly native by the name of Freeway who kept the crowd hype with a two song set.

12:30 am - Whaaaat!?!

Wait why did the music stop? Oh, ok I see this is where the roots walk off and then someone says WE WANT ROOTS! And the crowd chimes in and the Roots slowly walk back on stage.

12:45 am - The Tipping Point

Oh this is for real they're not coming back. This can't be happening I just paid. no wait I got in for free, but still I've been here since 8pm and and the show lasted for less then an hour. I along with my companions felt disillusioned we felt so unfulfilled oh and by this time I finally got a VIP pass, but who cares. The abrupt end of the concert left a sour taste in my mouth and my desire to hang around at the after party was nil. After milling around for a while hobnobbing and saying goodbyes we left to rest our feet and wallow in our disappointment. I reached my Tipping Point.


Later that Evening

Through my inquiries I found out that the reason for the abrupt end was the Fire Marshall shut the show down. Why? Because the stage area was too crowded and presented a fire hazard. It seems that too many non VIPs were allowed into the stage area and as a result the capacity was way too much. So in actuality the Roots concert ended because of me and people like me who have no regard for the law of the VIP. The irony is intoxicating.

Viva la Revolucion !



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