The Beastie Boys’ triumphant concert Friday at the jam-packed Forum was a lot like their last few studio albums: loads of great music that draws from virtually all styles, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns, filtered through the trio’s distinct personalities until what’s left is nothing but a big party.
After a rousing turntable intro from the group’s hot new DJ, Mix Master Mike, the Beasties (garbed in matching orange jumpsuits) hit the rotating stage, which was positioned in the middle of the venue’s floor, and buzzed nearly non-stop through almost two hours of charged hip-hop, punk, soul and R&B.
It was three years since the Boys’ last headlining U.S. tour, so the air was charged with excitement before and throughout the show. The trio, which wrapped a week of California shows, responded with a sumptuous and exciting set-list that covered all of their musical tracks.
The threesome alternated between hip-hop tracks, like old-school opener “The Move,” from their latest album, “Hello Nasty” (Grand Royal/Capitol), where they raced about the circular stage with microphones in hand, engaging in their trademark snotty call-and-answer raps; hardcore punk tunes, like the frantic “Heart Attack Man” or early single “Egg Raid On Mojo,” assembled on drums, guitar and bass; and eclectic musical trips featuring as many as seven players, like on 1992’s “Gratitude,” which featured funky organ and stand-up bass, as well as a mid-song DJ-bass player battle.
Mix Master Mike was one of the surprises of the evening (the first of two sold-out Forum shows), as he threw down an informed and unpredictable barrage of vinyl beats, scratches and samples, often adding new flavor to the older songs, like his fresh break on 1989’s “Shake Your Rump.”
The concert, which was devoid of the political commentary that marks many of the band’s appearances, was all about the music, and ended with a powerhouse encore featuring current smash “Intergalactic” and older hit “Sabotage.”
One dollar from each paid admission on the just-wrapped tour will be donated to the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit human rights org co-founded by the band in 1994.