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With most of the Beastie Boys’ “Check Your Head” blasting on the P.A. before the set even started and singer Anthony Kiedis taking the stage in a homemade “MCA” t-shirt, it was clear far before the Red Hot Chili Peppers said it that Friday’s (May 4) New York-area show was dedicated to Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch, who died earlier in the day after a three-year battle with cancer and who had famously called New York home.
“We lost a good man today,” Kiedis, sporting a green shirt with ‘MCA’ hand-scrawled in black, said a few songs into the gig at Newark, N.J.’s Prudential Arena. “He left the world a lot of beauty. I hope you carry that flame. Adam was for real.”
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The Peppers and Beastie Boys were both inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March, though Yauch wasn’t well enough to attend (the ceremony aired Saturday night on HBO). But the friendship between the two bands extends back decades. RHCP played two of the Yauch-organized Tibetan Freedom Concerts, in 1996 and 1998.
The RHCP fans in the Newark crowd last night also clearly counted themselves Beasties fans as cheers erupted both times RHCP offered up instrumental Beastie Boys covers amid the roaring set of RHCP favorites. Both the Beastie’s 1992’s “Gratitude,” which Flea played as a fierce bass solo toward the beginning of the show, and an instantly recognized, full-band but vocal-less take on 1992’s “What’cha Want,” played toward the end, paid tribute in more than words.
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Flea didn’t just let his bass do the talking, however. “I love that man,” he said of Yauch, simply.
With “Give It Away” played, the band having said their goodbyes, and the house lights up, the P.A. kicked in with the Beastie’s 1986 hit, “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party),” which instantly elicited a singalong from the exiting audience.
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