I had my first experience at Boston Calling for the September go around for Sundays show featuring Nas and The Roots for the 20 year celebration of Illmatic. I was grateful that the lineup finally had some color to it — though the crowd was still mostly full of suburbanites.
When I got inside, after a quick ticket and bag check, I really was taken aback. Like it was a seriously “wicked” set up. This time around they added a Samuel Adams beer garden and a faux green lawn were people could sit back in adirondack chairs to watch game highlights, play Jenga or throw bean bags. One of my favorite food trucks Roxy’s, was serving up grilled cheese. Tasty Burger represented as well. People plopped down on the bricks wherever they pleased or huddled together as close to the stages as they could get to their favorite artists. There were also huge screens on either sides of the two stages, so there was no way you were missing a moment.
As time was getting near for Nas and The Roots to take the stage, ticket holders made their way towards the front of the stage. We were smo0shed to the upmteenth degree; fortunately, everyone took it in stride, throwing around mostly deflated beach balls (I was not amused), until Nas finally burst onto the stage.
If nothing else, the crowd knew their hip hop, and there wasn’t a beat or a word missed when he kicked off with “NY State of Mind” then eased right into “You can Hate Me Now”. He didn’t skip a beat as he eased into everyone’s favorite sampled Sting record “Shape of My Heart.” on “Rise and Fall”. We also got pieces of Sweet Dreams (The Eurythmics). He left us to think of a world full of possibilities with “If I Ruled The World”, “I Can”, “Hey Nas” and my personal favorite “One Mic”. He made sure to name drop “Boston” somewhere in each song and shared how appreciative he was to be able to be in the city and bless the stage, showing major humility.
The Roots came on and shared the stage with him for “One Love” and “Who’s World is This” before Nas was through. Gone too soon if I may say so myself. But hey, maybe he’ll be back next year or Harvard will do something – you know him being a Fellow and all.
The Roots were of course, The Roots, and played classics “Hot Music” favorites like, “Break You Off”, “You Got Me” and crazy, psychedelic rifts that boggled your mind and kept your body in motion.
If you missed out, yeah I know you mad, but be on the look out for who will be headlining in the spring, so you won’t have to live with such regret.