8 Oct 2015: Rumsey Playfield New York
Following an opening set from neo-soul comrade Marsha Ambrosius, the Roots took the stage at Summerstage for the final outdoor event of the long season (five months!) as part of a corporate show (so it wasn’t general admission). But it would be hard enough to find the Roots playing on the road these days, given their regular gig as the house band for Jimmy Fallon, so limiting the capacity was wise. Black Though and ?uestlove, along with “Captain” Kirk, Damon “Tuba Gooding Jr.” and their cohorts, jammed through a medley of Roots material like “The Seed 2.0” and “Respond/React” along with other hip-hop classics like “Jungle Boogie”. But it didn’t stop there. Not too long into their set, Talib Kweli came out to bust some rhymes on “Act Too (Love of My Life)” and a verse or two later, Common came out to help him. Another surprise came in the form of Cee-Lo Green (who had performed with The Roots earlier for NBC) to do a cover of Al Green’s “Love and Happiness”. Fellow Philadelphian (and also a NYC transplant), Bilal jumped in with The Roots for “The OtherSide” as well as “Back to Love”. The band’s finale was even bigger (though the interlude where their electronic wizard mashed beats and tunes from his mixer was stellar) as Salt-N-Pepa and their backup dancers took the crowd over the top with “Push It”. The Roots certainly know how to bring it and made the night a memorable “summer” finale.