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RTB 2012: Common nearly explodes onstage, per usual

The sight of Common, at a Rock The Bells, is starting to be a little, um, common. It’s safe to say Common is a regular at Rock The Bell events by now, and while he brings new material, some tweaks to old songs, and often does some of the same routines, he does keep things from being tired. And this might be obvious, but one cure for fatigue would be adrenaline, which he enters the stage as if he was ready to explode. He starts his performance with a medley, a quick succession of the most popular material he had in about 2-5 years ago, which roused the crowd.

Words: Kevin Lee, Pictures: Amari Kenoly / August 26, 2012


The sight of Common, at a Rock The Bells, is starting to be a little, um, common. It’s safe to say Common is a regular at Rock The Bell events by now, and while he brings new material, some tweaks to old songs, and often does some of the same routines, he does keep things from being tired. And this might be obvious, but one cure for fatigue would be adrenaline, which he enters the stage as if he was ready to explode.

He starts his performance with a medley, a quick succession of the most popular material he had in about 2-5 years ago, which roused the crowd. He does do the usual stuff, audience call and responses, buttering up to the locals, for instance added lines to “Be” with “I just want to be in the Bay”. He also did his usual old school medley, playing some of the biggest tracks from the 90’s, starting with 2Pac’s “I Get Around” (more buttering), moving to Dre, Naughty By Nature, and House of Pain, but also deftly ending on Camp Lo’s “This is It”, an underrated track that might have gotten a bigger pop than as all of the other (perhaps overplayed) tracks preceding it.

Also a part of his usual routine, but something he hasn’t done as much lately, is his inviting a girl from the audience so that he can serenade. Sometimes, the girls that steps up is lead by the hand, sits on a stool on the stage shyly and is slightly embarrassed at the attention. This time the girl might be the least shy and more involved of anyone I’ve seen Common pull that bit on. Whether on purpose or if the girl took extraordinary liberties, she toweled off Common’s sweat somewhat intimately, grabbed the mic when it got close, and caresses him whenever he got close. When the awkwardness peaked, he finally broke it off and began rapping for the crowd again. Its almost like she’s seen it before, and was ready to be the next one up. One last (deep) hug and she was on her way back to her seat. Afterword, he would keep the theme of crowd interaction going, first walking by the railing and giving as many can slaps and daps as he can, before finding that unsatisfactory and going out into the aisles for further mingling. Unfortunate that the seating configuration on the main stage with its stadium seating is no place for a crowd surf; if was possible I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried.

From there, he served the newer tracks from his catalog, going back as far as “The Light” from Like Water For Chocolate, and touching on everything up to his current latest, which the crowd felt was more than satisfactory. He brought out another usual bit at the end, a bit of a windmill that looks OK but nevertheless always charms the four elements crowd. Sometimes the audience doesn’t necessarily want something brand new every time.

posted: August 26th, 2012, 6:35pm



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