“Hey Anthony, what does it say on your shirt?”
That was the on-stage exchange between Red Hot Chili Peppers Anthony Kiedis and Flea at the first of their two-night stand at New Jersey’s Prudential Center. And it was surely what was on everyone’s mind in the arena: Beastie Boys bassist/MC Adam “MCA” Yauch passed away earlier in the day. The two groups shared a lot over the years: both bands combined hardcore punk rock and hip-hop influences to create something distinctly their own; both worked with producer Rick Rubin; both played the seminal Lollapalooza festival in the ’90s. And both bands were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month. At the ceremony, Kiedis sent his best wishes out to Yauch (who was unable to attend due to his condition, he’d battled cancer for three years) as the Chili Peppers began their performance.
Last night, the band paid tribute to Yauch early on, by playing Beastie Boys records over the P.A. before the opening band, Sleigh Bells, and before their own set. Sleigh Bells singer Alexis Krauss, dedicated the show to Yauch.
After just one song in the headlining set, Flea announced “We’re playing this show tonight for Adam Yauch,” and then launched into the bass line from The Beastie Boys’ rap-rock classic “Gratitude,” from their 1992 album, Check Your Head.
Just a few songs later, Kiedis told the audience, “We lost a good man today. The world lost a lot of beauty. Adam was for real!” He then took off his tux jacket to reveal his t-shirt, with “MCA” scrawled across it.
Towards the end of the show, after a powerful rendition of “By The Way,” the band played an instrumental version of another Beastie Boys song from ’92, the hip-hop hit “So What’cha Want.” After their final number “Give It Away,” Flea yelled out “We’d like to send our love out to Adam Yauch” before leaving the stage. When the house lights came on, the P.A. system blasted the Beasties’ first hit, 1986’s “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party).” The 10,000 plus crowd all rapped along with the 26 year old anthem with as much gusto as they did for the Chili Peppers’ hits.
Tonight at 9 pm ET on HBO, you can see the premiere broadcast of this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, featuring the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ speeches (they were presented by Chris Rock) and their performance, as well as speeches about The Beasties by Chuck D of Public Enemy and LL Cool J, acceptance speeches by Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond and a tribute performance by The Roots with Kid Rock and Travie McCoy.
–Brian Ives, CBS Local