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Beastie Boys w/ Special Guests A Tribe Called Quest and Money Mark - Concert @ Marcus Arena - Milwaukee, WI - 08.11.98

Quite the Super Disco Breakin Scenario
by: bill aicher, tom reiter, and jennifer aicher

To kick off our concert review section here at Music-Critic, we offer a review of one of this year's hottest concert tours - The Beastie Boys, with special guests A Tribe Called Quest and Money Mark.  Since this is our first review, we will be giving our visitors a different kind of review than that found in most common magazines.  This time around we are going to give you a review from three different peoples' points of view.   Music-Critic staff members Tommy, Billy, and Jenny all went to the show, and each of their reviews will be posted here.  (We had hoped to do an interview with the bands as well, but Grand Royal's publicist failed to respond to any of our requests.   Their loss I guess.)

PART I - BILLY'S REVIEW

This was my first concert that was even close to a hip-hop nature.  I need to get that out in the beginning so you know where I am coming from.  Most of the shows I have seen are either alternative or rock - Pearl Jam, Everclear, Our Lady Peace, Tori Amos, etc...  So as you can see, A Tribe Called Quest was not in that genre.  But let's start at the beginning and go on from there.

Money Mark opened the show up around 7:30.  An interesting musical style.  His set began with a mixing jam, samplers, turntables - all that shit.  This intro was very kickin'. It got the crowd moving and I was grooving to it.  However, then he went into what I was not hoping for - basic guitar/alternative rock music.  Most of his set was this style music - kind of like a slower Space Monkeys or Oasis; it sounded very brit-pop/rock to me.   He wasn't bad at it, the band did a good job and the vocals were good as well.   The problem I did have was that it did not fit my mindset for the show.  The best part of his set was in the middle when they went all-out improv jamming on the synths and turntables again.  Oh well, on to the next band then.

While I am not a HUGE rap/hip-hop fan, I do get into some of it.  When it comes to my preference, I get into the East-Coast style.  This is cool, seeing as how A Tribe Called Quest are about as East-Coast as there is.  The guys did an EXCELLENT job of getting the crowd going.   As soon as they told the audience to start jumping, compliance was reached.  I didn't think I could have so much fun with a pure hip-hop act - I guess I can be wrong sometimes.  They did a lot of new music from the new album coming out September 29th.   (Sadly they stated this new album will be their final A Tribe Called Quest release).  It was Ali's (the guy on turntables) birthday, and they got the whole crowd singing Happy Birthday - very cool.  Their set ended with "Scenario".

Unfortunately, by this time I was dripping with sweat.  This had to be the hottest concert I had been to in a long time.  There was no room to move whatsoever - when there was movement it was movement in the crowd as a whole.  I figured, what the hell, I will just deal with it and go on to the Beasties.  Oh damn - I could hardly wait.

After sitting for a while, the lights go down and what do I hear, but Rush's "Tom Sawyer" being sampled.   Mixmaster Mike was onstage, and he started the show by just ripping it up.   Next thing I know, "Super Disco Breakin'" is going, and so does the crowd.  I have never seen a crowd with so much energy before.  I got tossed to God-knows-where and never saw the people I came with again throughout the show.  This didn't matter much though, since the show was so great.  A lot of the music was from the last two albums, including "Shame in Your Game", "Sabotage", and of course "Intergalactic".  The closer before the encore was excellent, as they had Q-Tip come on out for the song.  The band was excellent, even though MCA, Ad-Rock, and Mike D are looking old.  It didn't matter.  They still have it in them - anyone who says differently is whack.

Overall, I loved the concert.   I hated the venue.  I have been to concerts there before - and nothing was as bad as how they handled the show.  There were too many people on the floor - either overselling of tickets, or just plain letting people on the floor who shouldn' have been there.  The crowd was great - they loved the music.  However, I have a quick comment - this was the first time I ever saw someone smoke a bowl in the middle of a moshpit.  The last complaint I have about the venue was from after the show.   Here I am, sitting in line to get me a hat - and what happens?  Well the damn security guards come around kicking everyone out.  I mean, come on - the show just got out ten minutes ago.  We were there for four hours watching those acts and all the security guards can do is kick the fans out as soon as the show is over?  What the hell was with that... well enough venting.  If you do get the chance to see them - do it.  One of the coolest shows I have seen in a long time.  Hell, the stage even rotated.

Review by Billy - editor@music-critic.com

PART II - Jennifer's Review

Alright, before I get going, I want to inform you all that, like Billy, this was on my first experieces with a hip-hop kind of show, although not exactly my first.  I also am more used to shows to the likes of swing, ska, rock, and alternative.  However, I must say I had a rockin' time at this show.

The first band to take the stage, Money Mark, I was completely unfamiliar with.  Previous to the start of the show, my friend and I were talking about what we thought Money Mark would be like, etc., etc., and when they whipped out their first song, we looked at each other with approval.  However, the next song was nothing like the first, and to put it bluntly, sucked.  As their set went on, I could not wait for them to be over.   I'm not saying they are a bad band or anything, they simply did not fit in my liking and I did not find them worthy to be touring with the almighty Beasties.   After some time, I had no choice but visit the restroom and then go find the t-shirt stand to get my souvenir of the night -- a lovely yellow Beastie Boys tee.   By the time I got back in the arena, to my delight Money Mark was just finishing up their set.

Next out was A Tribe Called Quest.  I am not going to lie to you and tell you that I was much of a fan of Tribe before the show.  I suppose I have never really heard much of their stuff before the show and had never had the fine opportunity of seeing the boys do their stuff up on the stage.  I must admit I was quite impressed and I plan on heading out to the nearest Best Buy one of these days and picking up a CD or theirs.  Tribe did an awesome job of getting the crowd going.  Instead of being down on the floor, I was up in the seats (me being a mere 5'2", being down on the floor never works for me.)   From my seat, I could see most of the people in the smoky, crowded Milwaukee Auditorium, and they were quite into Tribe.  Everyone seemed to be dancing and having a good time, like it was "One big party," as on the guys from Tribe described it.  And yes, I too was dancing up a storm.  One of the highlights of the show, as Billy mentioned, was getting to sing "Happy Birthday" to Ali; thousands of people in the place singing "Happy Birthday"-- interesting.  When they finished up their set, I was sad it was over, but I was all too eager to see the Boys.

Then, after much anticipation, the lights dimmed again and the crowd went nuts.  The Beasties were about to come out!  The place was so loud and everyone was going crazy.  I, myself, could not grasp the fact I was going to see the Beastie Boys.  My only fear was that the show wouldn't be as good as I would expect out of my Boys.  However, I soon found out I had nothing to fear.  Before I know it, MCA, AdRock, and Mike D. were out on the circular stage doing their thing.  Mixmaster Mike started the show out by sampling Rush's "Tom Sawyer" which I thought was just too awesome -- I mean, who but the Beasties would start a show sampling some Rush?  "Super Disco Breakin" was the first song they did, and a good choice I must say.  They did more rock and punk songs than I expected, but I suppose that's ok.   I would have preferred more raps, but I still had a great time and it was quite clear that everyone else at the show had a great time as well.

A highlight of the show was "Paul Revere" (which is on my cd played as I type) when the crowd had the honor of spitting out the lyrics, as opposed to the Boys.  You could tell the audience was lovin' that.  My favorite part of the show was the last song before the encore when they brought out Q-Tip and did my favorite: "Get it Together". I was lovin' it and dancing away, sweat just pouring down my face, but I didn't seem to mind, as I felt like I had died on gone to heaven. Then the boys climbed down below the stage through some "trap doors" until the encore, in which Mixmaster sampled the line "Welcome to my underground lair" from Austin Powers. The boys then performed "Intergallactic Planetary" and closed with "Sabotage."

Overall, incase you didn't notice, I truly enjoyed the show and am eagerly anticipating the next time the Beastie Boys come through-- if they do.  My only complaints were how crowded the show was and how hot and smoky the place was, but it was by far worth it.  I have never seen a crowd so into a group before and having such a good time.  This was definitely one of the best concerts I have ever gone to, and I've been to quite a few, despite my younger age.

Review by jenny - jenny@music-critic.com

PART III - Tom's Review

Well, I think you've been held in anticipation long enough for Part III of the Beastie Boys concert review.  The first part, from Bill, had an alternative background.  Jenny, who did the second part, has a somewhatmixed background in music.  Now I add the third part, coming from a hip-hop background.

I found out first hand why people like MTV are saying Milwaukee was the best stop on the tour.  I feel sorry for any of ya'll that were gonna go and didn't or couldn't, cuz you missed one of the best concerts to ever hit Brewtown....

I was able to view it from a different vantage point then that of Billy and Jenny.  I was down in the front standing up against the barrier around the stage.  Damn it was hot, but damn it was fun!!

The opening act, Money Mark, was ok.   I guess I expected something a little more exciting.  Although that doesn't mean he wasn't good.  Money Mark is a very talented musician.  He can play several instruments and can sing very good too.  His music is primarily instrumental, and a lot of it is improvised.  He was a decent act to get the crowd kinda warmed up.

After a brief set change (props to the stage designers for making this easy for the crew so it went quick!), one of my favorite rap groups took stage, A Tribe Called Quest.  I had seen them in concert once before and thought they were ok, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  But I was soon to realize I was in for a surprise!  They were quick to pump up the crowd and get everybody into it.  They did all their classic jams from back in the day, from "Bonita Applebum" to "Award Tour."  They had two guests along, Jerobi, and I'm not totally sure who the second one was....maybe Consequence (although it didn't sound like it).  But having them along enabled them to do my favorite song of all time, "Scenario." The guest picked up the parts of Charlie Brown and Busta Rhymes, who were then a part of Leaders of The New School.  The Tribe stayed on stage for almost an hour!  Many people who are not big fans of hip-hop have said that they loved the Tribe's performance.  One of the things that I really like was that they had a clean sound system, so you could actually hear the music and understand the lyrics, which is essential for rap.  The only bad part was that they announced that after 10 years of puttin out their unique style, "The Love Movement" would be their last album.  As a long time fan, I hope the hell not!!  (Editor's note: It was stated on MTV News that this Milwaukee show was actually to be their last show as A Tribe Called Quest).

After a break for stage setup, it was time for the Beasties to perform.  Their set opened with Mix Master Mike on stage by himself workin it on the turntables.  After his brief solo intro, the Beastie Boys emerged.  Immediately the crowd came alive, and the whole mass of people started movin' n' jumpin'.  This is when I was able to make it to the front row.  The only problem with being up there was that it was tighter then a mo fo.  But it was awesome cuz you could see the Beastie Boys just feeding off the excitement of the crowd in their experessions.  When you would look up at the people in the seats, it was just this mass of people all waving their arms, dancin and partyin.

I thought the way the music was arranged was perfect. They'd piece some of their more popular high engergy songs together for awhile.  Then, just when you started to think you're getting tired, they slow it down and go into some of their instrumentals.  This provided a nice break.  Then the Beasties would pick it up again with some of their punk/thrash material.  I like their newer material a lot.  It kinda reaches back to their older style of rapping, yet combines it with cutting edge samples, Groovebox generated music, and fat ass beats.   Occasionally, they would have a couple back-up players come on to play a couple instruments.  Mix Master Mike was on stage all night, showin off his talent on the the tables.

Even the stage was kickass!   The center of it, where all the instruments were, would rotate every now and then. So nobody remained in the back or side of the stage for long. The also had strategically placed digital video cameras.  The images they picked up were displayed on video walls and hanging monitors. They added digital effects for that Beastie look.  Q-Tip also came on stage so they could do "Get It Together."  We all knew that they weren't done yet when they left the stage becausethey hadn't played "Intergalactic," their newest hit. And sure enough, after a minute or two, they reappeared and performed it.  In all, they were on stage for two hours, by the end of which I was soaked in sweat from head to toe and tired as hell.  We were made to leave right away, and I picked up new t-shirt.  When Bill and I walked out the doors, there was someone from MTV news conducting an interview. We stood in the background for a bit, but left cuz we didn't think it would get aired cuz it was only Milwaukee.  Little did we know it would, since this show is being dubbed the best on the tour. A friend of ours spotted us when he was watching it one morning, kickass!

     Words can't describe the overall thoughts and feelings of this concert. All I can say is that for any of ya'll that didn't go, you missed your one chance in a lifetime to see a show this good!!!

 
Artist Beastie Boys
Special Guests A Tribe Called Quest
Money Mark
Venue Marcus Arena
Date 08.11.98