Rocksteady Crew 32nd Anniversary Show – 7.26.09
What a day.
OK, so first thing’s first: I apologize for the lack of photos on this event, but 1) I was at home til 3pm when the Rocksteady show started at noon, and 2) it rained like nothing I’ve ever seen before. More on that later. I WILL say that I think I captured the aftermath of the day’s events and left feeling like I had borne witness to something special and memorable.
While I was working on the inaugural entry to this blog, the 32nd Rocksteady Crew anniversary show was under way… I happened to check my MySpace page and caught a blog entry from Rugged N Raw mentioning that he was going on at 1pm. It was 1:55 pm. Sigh… Then I’m on Twitter, and I find out that Senor Kaos is rocking as well. Why didn’t these guys tell me sooner? Maybe I would’ve tried to get there on time! Ended up living vicariously through Kaos’ tweets, learning that I had missed all the people I wanted to see (including Tanya Morgan…so disappointed!). Finally headed out and reached Newark Penn Station around 5pm, walked what felt like forever to Lincoln Park, where the concert was well under way. And boy, was it humid.
By the time I finally get to the front of the crowd, (anybody who knows me, knows that if you’re looking for me at a show, I can almost ALWAYS be found front and slightly off-center. If you don’t find me there, I’m most likely not in the building. But I digress…) Cormega was wrapping up his set.
My hip hop knowledge failed me at that moment, because for some reason I thought he was AZ… Anyway, after his set, the good people over at EOW kept the crowd entertained while DJ Premier set up for Blaq Poet’s performance.
It had started drizzling while Vice Verses was hyping up the crowd, and he was a good sport about staying in the rain with us. The rain became steadier as Blaq Poet performed, and I pulled out my umbrella to protect my camera. A nice young man (his name escapes me) offered to hold my umbrella for me if I let him stand under it; ever the Good Samaritan, I obliged. At about 6:30pm, after Blaq Poet’s first song, lightning and thunder started dispersing the crowd. The music stopped, and the organizers told us that we had to wait for the rain to pass, in order to protect the equipment. Someone made the mistake of saying that they were going to shut down the show, to which the crowd who stayed responded with boos and chants of “Hell no, we won’t go!” But Mother Nature yelled back “Hell no, we won’t go ON!” With a gust of wind aimed towards the stage, the skies turned ever darker and the skies opened. My Mr. Bentley opted to leave, leaving me standing on a milk carton, holding my umbrella to my back to protect my camera. When that didn’t work, I finally ran to one of the tents where dozens of people were huddled together, waiting for the rain to pass.
At this point, my clothes were soaked, I had water in my kicks and my black slacks were so wet, they shined… I found another Mr. Bentley by the name of Joseph to hold the umbrella and block the rain from coming down on us at the edge of the tent. We watched as the thunder, lightning and rain got louder and stronger; as umbrellas broke and other tents collapsed. What a sight…I was worried for my equipment, but was tweeting the whole time… One guy was standing in the rain with a plastic bag on, arms outstretched like he didn’t have a care in the world. B-boys were breaking on the floor the organizers had constructed in the middle of the park. (Did I mention it was still pouring?) Each time the lightning crackled, we cheered in defiance. And then the thunder boomed back. It was crazy!!!
40 minutes later…the rain finally subsided and the sun came back. I was beyond drenched! I made my way back to the stage, which by this time looked like a lake. More water in the kicks… The die-hard fans who stayed started to assemble at the front of the stage and yell at the organizers to continue the show.
Majesty and another MC proceeded to freestyle to keep the crowd happy…but a couple belligerent folk decided to throw plastic bottles at the stage.
In the spirit of entertainment, this uber-drunk guy who we will call “Mad Dog” decided he wanted to rap too…with bottle in tow, he got on stage:
Security came and took him down, to which the crowd reacted by chanting “Free Mad Dog! Free Mad Dog!” Hilarious.
Security ended up letting Mad Dog go, to cheers from the crowd…Finally Crazy Legs came out to announce that they had to shut down the show because the rain had wet Premo’s turntables, and they couldn’t go on.
One older man pleaded with security and organizers to keep the music going. He even suggested plugging in a radio…Wow, he was hungry! As were a lot of other concert-goers. I actually felt bad that Mother Nature had deprived them of the remainder of the show. I remember all the stuff my uncle and I endured to make it to shows a couple years back (getting lost and walking around in circles for an hour; coming out in the freezing cold or blazing heat), and I realized that it was a beautiful thing to see all these people willing to endure damn near a tropical storm to support the music and the culture.
I eventually left the park and ran into Zulu Jeff (aka Big Jeff), Craig G, Popmaster Fabel and Jeru the Damaja outside. Thus began the trek back to the station and home…Praying for sunny skies next year! Sorry for the cloudy images, but my camera was a tad wet: