The Beasties Don't Suck Enough?

The Beastie Boys
with A Tribe Called Quest and Money Mark
PNE Coliseum
Vancouver, B.C.
Saturday, August 1, 1998

Review by Dorothy Parvaz

[Editor's Note: Sorry, no photos for this show. Our photographer (me, actually) had to bail at the last minute. But, from the reports from the city's other shooters, that was just as well. Apparently the Beasties have a lot of contempt for photographers, and treat them accordingly. Sounds like the Prince show was a most pleasant experience compared to this one. Seems being cool doesn't preclude the Beasties from being assholes...]

Yeah, looks like I missed Money Mark's opening set, and yes, I kicked myself for it. Plenty.

So it was with a bruised-butt (totally self-inflicted) that I took my spot in the mid-blues and checked out the circular stage smack-dab in the middle of the Coliseum. Nice touch, that. A Tribe Called Quest took to said stage with minimal hoopla and just went off. Yessir, the Wu-Tang Clan left its mark on rap... the boys fell into these raspy, bark-like spurts now and again. Where was Q-Tip's oh-so-smooth delivery? The songs had a rougher edge to them live than on the group's discs, and that didn't always work, but the Tribe still sounded great.

Sadly, they announced that their next album (The Love Movement) would also be their last, so this show was probably their last in one Vancouver. Maybe that explains the song picks -- they stuck mostly to material from Low End Theory, a favorite of most fans, barely touching on anything from Beats, Rhymes and Life, and they didn't do much off The People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (though they didn't skip out on "Bonita Applebum" and "Can I Kick It?"). But they even got off the stage to mingle (or as close as they could get to mingling, with the barriers, security staff and all) with the audience at show's end.

Tribe's set was way too short -- they could've easily stayed on another 30 minutes without wearing out their welcome, especially given that whole this-is-our-last-album-thanks-for-all-the-love-and-support-see-ya! sentiment. But I guess they had to get off stage lickity-split because the whole rig had to be vacuumed thoroughly before the Beastie Boys went on. And when I say vacuumed thoroughly I mean thoroughly. For about half an hour. But no one really cared because everyone was too busy either (a) rolling more spliffs 'coz they'd smoked the last batch during Tribe's set or (b) rushing down towards the floor.

Yup, there was a mass-migration towards the floor from both the red and blue sections; everyone was jumping over barriers, and you know what? The security staff didn't really care. Now that was a nice change of pace. Sure, there was the occasional "Hey, where do you think you're going" sort of encounter, but really, that crowd wouldn't have enjoyed the show unless they could stand in the aisles, shake its collective booty and body surf at will. And them kids sure did what they liked.

With a playful spin of Rush's "Tom Sawyer" (courtesy of the much-praised Mixmaster Mike), the Beastly trio of MCA, Mike D and Ad-Rock jumped into "Super Disco Breakin,'" the opening track off their latest disc, Hello Nasty.

Oh, the ever-juvenile Beastie Boys came on with style. Nice. Very nice. They hopped around on that circular stage in their red coveralls like 10-year-olds on a sugar high from snorting Pixi Stix. It was reassuring to see that their serious political endeavors (the Tibetan Freedom concert in DC, etc...) in no way hampered their ability to get silly and totally insane on stage.

They did a wicked version of "Egg Man," did a bunch of some groove-oriented instrumentals and even did a little sumpin' sumpin' with Digital Underground's "The Humpty Dance." Money Mark joined in for a couple of songs, just to let us late-comers know what we missed out on.

The problem with the Beastie Boys, though -- hell, you saw this coming -- is this: They just don't suck enough. They should suck more.

Allow me to explain. This band is enormously popular, and has been for over 10 years now. They have five huge albums out (not to mention all that indie punk stuff they did in the mid-80s) and heaps of hits, and well, how do you choose? You can't, really, and you sure as hell can't pack it all into a 90-minute show and a two-song encore ("Intergalactic " and "Sabotage"). No "Hey Ladies," no "Girls," no "3-Minute Rule," no "Funky Boss." Instead, the boys strapped on their guitars and went off on some Old Bullshit. They played a sweet set, but it wasn't enough. If they only had a handful o' hits, I would've gone home satisfied, but as it was, I left wanting more.

Gee, you don't suppose that was the idea, do you?

First published in Drop-D Magazine on December 5, 1998

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