Public Enemy at First Avenue, 12/6/12
But, incredibly, even with the all-time classics thrown in (and they have a lot of them), like "Can't Truss It, " "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" and "Bring the Noise," which is still absolutely flooring some twenty years later, Public Enemy's set began to feel like an intrusion, as well. There was a solo of sorts by DJ Lord that was actually pretty incredible and at one point Chuck D hauled local heroes Brother Ali and Slug onstage for a freestyle round that proved to be engaging and immensely fun to watch, but the set was quickly approaching the 90-minute mark and six hours overall for the entire show.
|Photos by Tony Nelson|
The crowd was simply worn out. They finally closed with a so-so version of "By the Time I Get to Arizona" and a phenomenal version of their biggest hit, "Fight the Power" but following that Flav went off on another tangent, re-introducing Bazerk from Son of Bazerk and No Self Control as a friend from boyhood who came up with the idea for Flav to wear a clock around his neck as a dare. It was a fun bit of information to receive, to see the man who essentially made Flavor Flav who he is, but it was slamming what had eventually turned out to be a fair set into a brick wall, as the speech went on for several minutes. Flav may once have been a grade-A hype man for Public Enemy but he's now just a grade-A hype man for himself and as it turns out, at a Public Enemy show, nobody really cares much to hear about it.
Critic's Bias: I had waited years to see Public Enemy live. The amount of frustration I felt during this show was tangible to those around me; I was pretty disappointed overall.
The Crowd: The whitest hip hop crowd of all-time.
Random Tidbit: The smell of marijuana was constant and incredibly strong throughout the show. Puffs of smoke could be seen coming out of the crowd for the entire night. I literally had to hang my coat outside when I got home to air it out.
Notebook Dump: This show would flow a lot better if Flav would just stop talking in between all of the songs or at least make sense while he was doing so.