I’ve been thinking a lot about Adam Yauch, and how, aside from everything else, his life was a testament to how much a person can change during their time here on Earth.

I never met the man (although I did interview his bandmates last year). I’ve been remembering the times I saw the Beastie Boys play live. I missed the Licensed to Ill tour–no inflatable penis for me, apparently–but I did see one of the few shows they did to support Paul’s Boutique, an excellent secret gig at the short-lived New York club called The Building. (My future wife was also in attendance, although we hadn’t yet met.)

The last time I saw the Beastie Boys in concert was back in 1994–I had no idea it had been that long ago. I joined the Lollapalooza tour for seven shows, on assignment for Details. I was mostly writing about the technology tent, but I took a break every day so I could see a different act in the lineup (Nick Cave, the Breeders, A Tribe Called Quest, L7, George Clinton, the Flaming Lips–it was a very strong bill). The tent folded up in the late afternoon, leaving me at liberty to see the last two bands if I wanted. I never made it through more than a couple of songs by the headlining Smashing Pumpkins, but I saw every single set by the Beasties.

Their hour in Kansas City had one of my favorite moments ever at a concert (or in life), which wouldn’t have happened if the crowd had not been eating lots of personal pan pizzas, served by a vendor in small cardboard boxes. When the Beastie Boys started playing “Sabotage,” everybody went nuts–not only did the crowd pogo, but they threw the pizza boxes up in the air, and kept hurling them up for the duration of the song, making the field look like an immense popcorn machine. It was three of the most joyful minutes I’ve ever been a part of, and Adam Yauch was playing bass at the center of the maelstrom.

posted 8 May 2012 in Tasty Bits. 3 comments

3 Comments on R.I.P. MCA

  1. Chris M. Says:

    Nice memories. I saw the Beasties twice, on the same Lollapalooza tour as you in ’94 and again at their Tibetan Freedom show, also on Randall’s Island in NYC, which was (I think) in 1997. They were excellent both times, full of energy and generous and kind to the crowd.

    Speaking of which, did you not make it through the Pumpkins because Billy Corgan was such a dick to the crowd? He verbally chewed out the crowd at our Lolla stop in ’94. talking more, it seemed (about what poseur–scenesters we all were) than playing or singing. Or did you not make it because you’ve just never liked Smashing Pumpkins? I must say, at least as far as Corgan’s persona as a touring frontman, Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus called it.

  2. Gavin Says:

    I didn’t like the Pumpkins very much in 1994–I thought they were just pompous, overblown faux-alternative rock. A few years later, though, I fell in love with the beautiful and wistful “1979,” which was like a permission slip to reconsider their entire career. I now like them, and think they’ve aged pretty well–even if I don’t listen to them very often.

    I did try several times to make it through their set on that tour, out of professional obligation, and each time, dinner seemed like the more compelling choice.

  3. azul120 Says:

    Saw the Beasties a few years ago. They put on a great show. I’m friends with their touring drummer.

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