IRVINE, California — Thank you, Jed the Fish.
Before the Beastie Boys took the stage at Saturday’s KROQ Weenie Roast, the DJ grilled them during a live radio interview about abandoning the songs on 1986′s Licensed to Ill in the second, more socially conscious decade of their 20-year career.
“We still love that record,” Mike D insisted. And in their hit-filled 45-minute set, they proved it.
“This one goes out to that DJ, that Fish kid. What’s his name, Jack the Fish?” Adam Yauch said, introducing “Brass Monkey,” a clear crowd favorite.
The Beasties also played the Licensed to Ill tunes “Time to Get Ill” and “Paul Revere,” with Ad-Rock pointing his mic to the crowd for much of the latter and replacing a line about using a whiffle ball bat as a sex toy with “she hit me with a stick ball bat.” Mike D also laughed his way through the “he wasted two kids that ran for the door” line, although it was unclear whether he was cleaning it up or just forgot the words.
With one hand holding his pants up (“Can we get a belt tech?” Mike D asked), Ad-Rock seemed to take the lead in the Beasties’ set, their first in the Los Angeles area in six years, and was left onstage alone between “So What’cha Want” (set to a new beat courtesy of Mix Master Mike) and “Intergalactic” to muse about politics.
“So what about that president of ours?” he asked to a thunder of boos. “Did you hear his joke about weapons of mass destruction?”
The Beastie Boys closed their high-energy set with “Ch-Check It Out,” helping the end of their set live up to the beginning, which featured Will Farrell introducing the band. “The band you’re expecting next couldn’t make it. No, Crazy Town couldn’t make it,” Farrell joked, singing an excerpt from “Butterfly.” “But someone else is [here].”
Farrell, in his Ron Burgundy character, served as a sort of emcee of the main stage, introducing the bands with pre-taped segments. When he actually appeared, the crowd went nuts for the comedian, who grew up in Irvine.
“I used to sneak in here on many occasion,” he joked. “And tonight I’m one of you because I, too, am high as a kite. I was backstage huffing paint — at least I thought it was paint. It was actually athlete’s foot spray.”
Elsewhere at the annual summer concert, Velvet Revolver played their biggest show yet and Slash and the band seemed to enjoy every second onstage.
“I’m excited,” the guitarist said backstage in between taking pictures with fans (mostly from other bands) and partying with their huge entourage. “There’s just a good vibe in the air. It’s a summer thing, everybody gets loose.”
Scott Weiland, who arrived backstage just before showtime, was in true form onstage, sporting a German military officer’s hat, mirrored shades and tights — along with a black vest and scarf that he later disrobed — and dancing provocatively as he gripped the microphone.
VR, as their logo dubs them, saved “Slither” for the end but sent the crowd into a frenzy earlier with Guns N’ Roses’ “It’s So Easy” and Stone Temple Pilots’ “Sex Type Thing,” which Slash said the bandmembers perform for their own enjoyment, not as a treat for fans.
Speaking of Slash, the guitarist turned up later to play guitar on “New York City Cops” with the Strokes, whose Julian Casablancas, showing off his new short haircut, added a little more bite than usual to his laid-back style.
Joining the Strokes in representing the garage-rock-inspired movement still working its way into KROQ’s rotation were the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whose Karen O was the only female on the bill, the Hives, Modest Mouse and the Killers.
Otherwise, Cypress Hill and Hoobastank aside, this year’s Weenie Roast offered a preview of the upcoming Vans Warped Tour, with sets from New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Story of the Year and Bad Religion, whose guitarist Greg Hetson squeezed into a red sequined dress for the show (see “New Found Glory, Bad Religion Get Warped; Itinerary Set” ).
Story of the Year made the best of their 2 p.m. set by tossing a cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” along with portions of “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Paradise City” into a set highlighted by their red-hot single, “Anthem of Our Dying Day.”
Hoobastank earned one of the most rambunctious responses of the afternoon with their side-stage set, which showed a heavier side of the band than fans of the “The Reason” might expect.
“Hometown shows are great because the crowds are so into it,” guitarist Dan Estrin said backstage. “But they also suck because you have so many people hitting you up for free tickets.”
For a full-length feature on The Beastie Boys, check out “Beastie Boys: Big Fat Liars.”
For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.