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Review: DMX at the Gothic Theatre, 9/10/11

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DMX is loud, energetic and, at least for what he gave at the Gothic Theatre last night, in the same shape he was in when he first lifted his voice with the infamous query, "Where my dogs at?" back in 1997. Exploding onto the stage with his Ruff Ryders-emblazoned gear and a bottle of Hennessy, Dark Man X brought the motherfucking ruckus. He even ended the night with a prayer.

Opening up with "We Right Here" and growling his way into "Who We Be," DMX was roaring through his set before it actually set in that the man was right before our eyes. He stalked the stage and barked his lyrics with a pretty daring ferociousness. Wielding the bottle of Henny almost like a microphone and doing more gesturing than drinking, he moved on to "Ruff Ryders Anthem," which was less anachronistic than expected and caused the audience to erupt with what seemed to be nostalgia and elation.

DMX is a very theatrical MC, and there was a good bit of talking in between songs like "Get It on the Floor" and the rapid-fire verse from "Touch It." Pointing toward the balcony, where several enthusiastic women were flailing about, X joked that the venue had turned into Taco Bell, but he didn't seem to be bothered by the antics at all. He was bothered though, when a woman in the front row kept putting her high heels on the stage during "Money, Cash, Hoes." Rather than lose his temper completely, the party-goer was given a warning before her shoes were tossed back stage and the show continued.

The rapper had been removing his clothes periodically throughout the set, and by the time he got to "My Niggas," he was clad in a T-shirt and his jeans, heavy chain flying with his movements. Taking some time to get intimate with the ladies, he sailed into "What They Really Want," causing some joking in the crowd about whether Sisqo would emerge to sing the hook.

The bottle of Hennessy was a mainstay throughout the concert. Pouring much of it out onto the stage, X offered the rest to the crowd, with the staunch admonishment to "sip and pass, sip and pass, sip and pass." Someone threw her panties onto the stage during "How It's Going Down," and people got rowdy like 1999 when he slipped into "Lose My Mind" and "Where Da Hood At?"

Punctuating the evening with growls of "It is NOT fucking game!" the MC's energy was through the roof the entire time. As the night wore on and X worked himself into "Slippin," the set became more intimate. Lighters and cell phones were requested, and the venue darkened. Issuing a prayer wrapped around vulnerability, he spoke of loved ones who have passed and became emotional as he talked about his struggles.

It was sincere, if nothing else, but honestly, the last ten minutes of the show could have easily been the call to salvation at a P.O.D. show. There were arms raised (more than a few beers, too) and eyes closed as DMX gave thanks for every person in the room and spoke passionately about God.

Review and more photos continue on next page.

You know, it was hip-hop, and it was classic. All the people in the audience knew the words and seemed extremely happy to see DMX in good health. His voice was intact, his eyes clear, and he was in it to win it. Don't call it a comeback.

Earlier in the evening, Rockie provided a performance that resulted in someone throwing a drink on the stage. Concerts are rowdy sometimes, but Rockie, accompanied by BMore and DJ Sabotage behind the turntables, held his own through the fracas. He provided a nice segue from the very early opening acts to the music played by Sabotage in the interim before the Dog came in and handled the rest.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal bias: I showed up feeling indifferent to the entire thing, mostly just glad DMX was well and free. I left the Gothic inclined to believe that all these years later, X has still got it.

By the way: DMX rocked the stage by himself with only his DJ and his voice was as loud as a jet engine. Not really, but kind of.

Random Detail: There was a gorgeous man who was a part of the production crew and filming for the MC. He was gorgeous. That is all.

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