The doors opened at 8, but the Roots didn't hit the stage until 10:30 p.m., the same time that they play on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, as the house band.
The wait time would have been expected for most concerts had there been an opener, but there was just a DJ spinning some relaxed funk and hip-hop. The first hour was fine, but the crowd's energy took a dive after two passed and there was still no sign of the band.
The Roots opened with what they do best: high-energy hip-hop featuring loud multi-instrumental production and smooth, artsy, conscious raps. Questlove was elevated on a platform with his drum set. Instead of his signature Afro pick, Questlove rocked a pink headband. Black Thought was the most stylish man in the building with his porkpie hat, gold chains, big beard and sunglasses.
Questlove's Pandora station, watching Black Thought's eleven-minute Funk Flex freestyle, and had already read three of Questlove's four books. What we got at the Fillmore on Friday was a different show. The Roots touched on some of the act's most popular songs, but there was a lot of
After a few group songs, the Roots started running through overindulgent solos that overshadowed the more compelling collective numbers. Sure, you rarely see a sousaphone solo at a hip-hop show, but then again, a four-minute sousaphone solo doesn't exactly reinforce what makes the Roots crew legendary.
Despite all that individual noodling, there was no clear solo for Questlove, whom critics often mention in the same sentence as Clyde Stubblefield, Prince, and Stevie Wonder for his drumming. Why didn't he ever have the spotlight to himself?
Alongside the plethora of solos, the Roots squeezed in some questionable cover songs like "Sweet Child O' Mine" that nodded to their time at The Tonight Show more than their career as a hip-hop band. Perhaps that was fitting. Most of the crowd was above 25, and many were likely there because they are more interested in late-night TV than the Roots' enduring legacy.