Photo By Gary Miller
Beastie BoysFrank Erwin Center, Oct. 22
It's been six years since Brooklyn's second greatest export after the Dodgers, natch last swung through Central Texas. Into the Frank Erwin Center, then, strode the three horsemen of the hip-hopalypse, clad in matching ungodly lime-green tracksuits with Mix Master Mike scratching from all around. Preshow there had been a palpable concern that this outing, supporting the less-than-stellar To the 5 Boroughs
CD, might fall short of previous outings. Doomsayers, however, received a sure shot of egg on their faces almost instantaneously as Adrock, Mike D, and MCA threw down the triple threat of "Root Down," "Egg Man," and "Sure Shot," followed in quick succession by a 90 minutes-plus barrage of career-spanning East Coast brilliance. Paul's Boutique
was in full effect the ominous Morricone-isms of "High Plains Drifter," the party provocateur "Shake Your Rump," and aforementioned ode to airborne omelets. Even the proto-beats of Licensed to Ill
were on hand: "The New Style," "Paul Revere," and dorm room necessity "Brass Monkey." The evening's vibe was detoured when the Beasties exited briefly to return atop a revolving ministage clad in their powder-blue Bar Mitzvah-B-Boy best to drop the mics in favor of guitars. But it was a minor setback, followed by emotionally wrenching new track "An Open Letter to NYC," which laments, "Dear New York, I know a lot has changed, two towers down, but you're still in the game." It was a lighters-aloft moment of pure punk rock resilience that encores "Intergalactic," "Gratitude," and "Sabotage" couldn't top. The world has changed since Manhattan's darkest day, but then so has this trio of once and future smartasses. They used to make you laugh; now they're capable of making you cry as well.