De La Soul opened on the Big Apple stage with a pretty memorable message to both their young and old audience. For the old folks, the hip hop group thanked them for riding with them through their 20-year stretch. And for the youngins: “I love your energy… ya’ll are going to learn some sh*t today.” And to say the least, me, and the other hundreds of “30 and younger” fans definitely learned something.
Posdnuos, Dave, and Maseo arrived to their 5:45 p.m. set late, but it was worth the wait. The three-man group ignited the stage with so much energy, even if you didn’t know the lyrics or weren’t even born in that era, you had your hands in the air. And their old school vibes were much appreciated, especially when they stopped the crowd during their performances of “Potholes in My Lawn.” They asked the attendees, and even the photographers in the photo pit, to put down their phones and ride out to the good music. Although they acknowledged that some people were just trying to do their job, they encouraged the crowd to really be in the moment, instead of capturing it.
“We trying to party,” the collective said. And some phones might have still been in the air, but for the most part, we partied with them. De La Soul took us through a time machine stopping in the year 2000 with “Ohh,” then in 1991 with “Ring Ring Ring,” and all the way back to 1989 with “Me, Myself, and I.”
It was shocking to me and maybe a couple others how lively the band was and how much they were able to move the crowd. Even as the sun dimmed and rain clouds formed in its place, they turned the mood right-side up. It’s not to say that I expected them not to be able to keep an audience’s attention; after all they’ve had years of experience and are pioneers in the game. But for a crowd that oozed with kids that looked no older than sophomores in high school, it was surprising to see how many people knew the lyrics and were more pumped about seeing them than seeing some of the other, current acts.
The group went through a number of hits from their acclaimed 1991 album, De La Soul Is Dead, but the group brought nothing but life to the Governors Ball venue.