Date: May 25, 2013
City: Mountain View, CA
Venue: Shoreline Amphitheater
Artist: LL Cool J
Opening Act(s): Ice Cube, Public Enemy, De La Soul
When I saw LL Cool J perform “Whaddup” at the end of The Grammys I was excited for the possibility of a tour. LL’s last album was released in 2008 and “Whaddup” was a new song. I immediately started to follow him on Twitter to see if an album and tour were forthcoming. When the Kings of the Mic tour was announced with the incredible lineup of LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Public Enemy and De La Soul I was beyond thrilled.
LL COOL J
LL Cool J came out in a sweatshirt that came off and was thrown into the crowd during the first song. Sadly it did not reveal his bare chest but rather a t-shirt promoting his album. This shirt was soaking wet by the end of the show and although it did have a rip in the neck, he never took it off.
He looked like he had a great time on stage and performed classics like “Mama Said Knock You Out”, “I’m Bad”, “Doin’ It”, “I Need Love” and “Rock the Bells”. Those lips were licked several times throughout the show. I managed to get a blurry shot of this, but most importantly I was able to see it live and in person.
There was an issue with his mic – from time to time there would be a large high-pitched squeak. It wasn’t so often that it ruined the show, but it was a horrible sound when it did occur. Not sure why that couldn’t be fixed by the sound crew.
Sweat was dripping off his arms as he performed. A towel would be tossed his way for him to wipe the sweat off his face. A few lucky women got a towel thrown out to them. I saw one of the women hold the towel up to her face and smell it. Some other women were fortunate enough to be brought on stage to dance with LL. One was an older woman, I’m assuming she was a grandmother, that had moves that were unexpectedly sexual. The look on LL’s face when she did her moves was priceless.
Surprisingly there was no encore. He went off stage without doing “Going Back To Cali”. Some people started to leave, but I learned a long time ago that you don’t leave a show until the house lights come on. When the lights came on I was at a loss. I’ve never been to a show that didn’t have an encore (at least not without being told in advance). Regardless, it was a great set and a fantastic show.
Videos and images from Ice Cube’s days in N.W.A were projected on the video screen behind him. I won’t go into how young they looked back then or how old it made me feel. There were two inflated hands with the ‘Westside’ hand symbol on either side of the DJ.
Ice Cube knows how to work a stage – walking from side to side getting the crowd going by teasing the ‘old school’ stuff. He performed “Straight Outta Compton”, Check Yo’ Self”, “It Was A Good Day” and “You Can Do It (Put Your Back Into It)”. Several women, including some that you would not have expected, put their back into it during that song. This portion of the show continued the excitement of what we had already seen and got us excited for the headliner.
Public Enemy had a solid performance. Flavor Flav came out without his signature clock and commented about how he used to wear a white clock around his neck. He had sworn he would never take it off until Public Enemy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Well, they were inducted this year and even though he did not have his white clock, he did reveal a black clock. I wonder what will make him stop wearing this one.
Flavor Flav ran around the 100s section of the amphitheater high fiving fans as he passed. One woman followed him up on stage and had to be told to get off by security. They performed their bigger hits “911 Is a Joke” with Flav doing his signature dance, “Bring the Noise”, “Don’t Believe the Hype” and “Fight the Power”. The crowd was pumped!
DE LA SOUL
De La Soul sounded great but their set seemed a bit disorganized. The show was supposed to start at 7pm but they were still setting up at 10 minutes past. It appears they were having some difficulties with their equipment. They got the audience to get up on their feet and bounce their hands up and down to the beats. The photographers were told to participate too, which they did for a short period before going back to taking photos. Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest performed a few songs with them. The equipment issues meant they weren’t able to do their full set. They were told their set was over as they were about to start another song.
Even with the few technical difficulties, this show did not disappoint. Each performance was better than the last. Only pet peeve was everyone saying either “San Fran” or “Frisco”. It’s “San Francisco”! If you must abbreviate then say “SF”. Anything else just shows you are not local or in the know.