The Roots get busy in San Diego, California


Who: The Roots

Where: Observatory North Park, San Diego, California

When: July 11, 2017

Thirty years after a couple of friends decided to start making music, The Roots are still bringing the heat, with an amazing show at the Observatory North Park in San Diego.

Though members have come and gone throughout the life of the hip-hop group, the core of (criminally underrated) Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson remains strong. The changes have played a role in the evolution of the band’s sound throughout the years from the raw hip-hop of their debut release Organix to the concept album Undun, which followed the life of a semi-fictional character and his life on the streets.

While you may only be familiar with them as the house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (in which case I can’t encourage you enough to listen to their albums), the band has released 11 albums of their own as well as several other projects including albums made with Elvis Costello, John Legend, and Betty Wright.

Having been a casual fan myself, I saw The Roots play live in 2007 and was blown away by their performance. I have followed them closely ever since. The talent and diversity of their sound is highlighted even more when they play covers of classic rock, funk, and reggae, besides their own songs throughout the set.

The show on July 11th was no different. The band chose to get down to business right away foregoing an opening act, which was great for everyone in the packed, sweltering venue. However, the band offered no relief from the heat as they came out blasting with fast-paced “Web” before transitioning to a few covers War, Bobby Byrd, and Eric B. & Rakim. They then got back to their own catalog with the seductive “Break you off”, seamlessly blending different styles while showcasing the band’s skill. Also sprinkled throughout the set were solos from the band members, including the Tuba, giving them time to shine while the rest of the band took a little break from the otherwise non-stop set.

Having seen The Roots many times before I knew what to expect, yet I was still surprised by the song choices and impressed by the solos. A cover of a popular recent song is always part of the show, but the change from Migos to Guns N’ Roses was definitely different. Overall The Roots setlist included songs spanning the life of the band while mixing in some classic and popular songs that tied everything together while also ensuring that people in the crowd that are unfamiliar with their songs can still join in and be part of the show.

Bottom line, if you’re a fan of hip-hop, The Roots are a must see. If you’re not too big on hip-hop but can appreciate a great show with truly talented musicians, then I still recommend it. Chances are, you’ll leave the show with a new-found appreciation for the group and some work to do digging through their discography.

The Roots are currently touring and playing several festivals in the U.S. while working on their next album, tentatively titled End Game.

  1. Web
  2. Me and Baby Brother (War cover)
  3. I Know You Got Soul (Bobby Byrd cover to Eric B. & Rakim Cover)
  4. Break You Off
  5. Handclapping Song (The Meters cover)
  6. The Fire
  7. Game Theory
  8. Section
  9. Clones
  10. Please Don’t Go
  11. Love of My Life (Erykah Badu cover)
  12. Without a Doubt
  13. Dynamite!
  14. Proceed
  15. What They Do
  16. Next Movement/Actual Proof (Herbie Hancock cover)
  17. Get Busy/Jungle Boogie (Kool & The Gang cover)
  18. Bad and Boujee (Migos cover)
  19. Sweet Child O’ Mine (Guns N’ Roses cover)
  20. Bad to the Bone / Who Do You Love? (George Thorogood & the Destroyers cover)
  21. Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover)
  22. Chase the Devil (Max Romeo cover)
  23. Welcome to Jamrock (Damian Marley cover)
  24. You Got Me
  25. The Seed (2.0) / Move On Up / Apache / StroM

Post by Mauricio Gonzalez

Did you attend this tour? Comment below.

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