Live Review: Nas at Warfield
The last time I saw Nas in concert was May 5, 2007, one of the best days of my life. The Warriors had just pulled off the biggest playoff upset of all time, and I went directly to see my favorite rapper of all time Nas @ Mezzanine. I knew going to the Warfield this round that it wouldn’t come close, but I still had high expectations. It is Nas, after all.
If there was a MT. Rushmore of Hip-Hop, Mr. Nas Escobar would be a prominent face (along with Pac, Big, and Jay). In a genre that devours “newness,” Nas has staying power and puts on a solid live show. Unfortunately, due to a snafu with the tickets I had to wait outside the Warfield for an hour while it was resolved. It was actually more fun than it sounds. Friday night people watching on Market St is highly entertaining: a very clean cut, preppy kid on Jib or something walking into traffic, and a tranny in a tiny dress with Michael Phelps shoulders. Meanwhile, I could hear the beginning of Nas’ set and danced to “Hero,” “If I ruled the World,” “Street Dreams” and “New York State of Mind.” I heard the whole set but got to see only about a third.
Once in the Warfield, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the music was not from a DJ, but from a live band. They did a fantastic job of recreating the songs and making them more organic. Many of them from the highly underrated God’s Son (2002) were featured, including “Heaven, Get Down” and “Made You Look.” The energy from the crowd was great and the place was bouncing for every song. Nas brought out some older material for the longtime fans including “Shoot Em Up” from 99’s Nastradamus. Nas has been doing it since 1994, and the whole catalog holds up very well. “One Mic” was a closer and the song started with him on one knee ala James Brown and the audience lit their lighters and their phones. Even as the momentum built, eventually all the lights were on and the place was crazy. There was no encore, but the fans left satisfied.
- Review submitted by Jeff Bracco.