Saturday night's nostalgia-fest at the Scottish Rite Temple was meant to draw out all the "grown 'n' sexy people," which, as it turns out, is a dwindling cohort in KC. Maybe some ran into trouble scoring a babysitter on a Saturday night in order to check out the lineup of Shock G (of Digital Underground), Naughty By Nature, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh. A promoter with some group called Dutch Entertainment, which I presume worked with Magic 107.3 to put on the show, informed me Friday that tickets were incredibly limited, but the place was never more than half full, and the venue's red, velvet curtains made it feel very much like the opening of a high school play.
That vibe turned out to be kinda perfect, though. Comedian Jus Jay, the night's host, sprinkled the evening with back-in-the-day memories of homemade Pixy Stix made from Kool-Aid and sugar, of blowing into Nintendo cartridges and rollerskating to Bone Thugs N Harmony at Skateland. When he asked the crowd at a quarter to 9:00 PM, "Are y'all havin' a good time?" the couple behind me in balcony seats groaned. "Hell naw," yelled the female half of the pair, "Ain't nothin' happened yet and we been here since 6:00!"
After an opening set of music from DJ Fresh and a performance by a local rapper whose name was never clear (Reece? East? Reef?), Shock G bounded onto the stage, skinny and energetic as a kid on Ritalin, dressed as his alter ego, Humpty.
Humpty performed "Return of the Crazy One," "Sex Packets," "Same Song," "The Humpty Dance," and his verse from "We're All in the Same Gang. Then, he ditched the jacket, Groucho glasses, fake nose and hat and introduced himself as Shock G.
With help from a smooth-jazz guitarist and DJ Fuze, the Digital Underground member reminded us that he was responsible for producing Tupac's first album with a live breakdown of some of the classics from 2Pacalypse Now. Shock G took to his keyboard to play the instrumental to"So Many Tears" and performed his verse from "I Get Around" (a song I affectionately refer to as "In Defense of Date Rape" for the verse: It's a lot of G's doin' time/ 'cause a groupie bit the truth and told a lie) and closed out with "Freaks of the Industry." (There's a song with the same name by Big Scoob, which reminds me that Shock G shouted out Tech N9ne, and said, "Who wants to see Tech N9ne tonight?....Well, he ain't here.")
After an extended (and boring) dance contest hosted by Jus Jay, Naughty By Nature's Treach, Vin Roc and DJ Kay Gee hit the stage looking like they just stepped out of an MTV video from 1991. The Jackson 5's "ABC" melded seamlessly into "O.P.P." In keeping with the old-school theme, DJ Kay Gee played a mix of songs by DMX, Next, Zhane and Snoop Dogg.
They played a couple songs from their new album before Treach poured shots from a bottle of Hennessy into the crowd's extended cups. "I'll share my Corona too," Vin Roc said, spilling from his bottle. "Drink, y'all," they instructed. Treach stripped his white wifebeater off like it was made of Kleenex and poured out a shot of Henny on his arm for Tupac. "Tupac lives!" they declared. "We just won't tell you where."
As a finale, they invited the crowd onstage to dance with them to "Hip Hop Hooray," and begged to know an address to the after-party. "We'll go to somebody's house," Treach said, an indication that it's been awhile since Naughty By Nature partied like it's 1991.
I Get Around
Ghetto Jam (by Domino)
Freaks of the Industry
Naughty By Nature:
Dirt All By My Lonely
I Gotta Lotta
Everything's Gonna Be Alright
Get to Know Me Better
Feel Me Flow
Hip Hop Hooray
??? (I completely missed his first verse)
The Art of Storytelling Pt. 1 verse
Hey Young World
Doug E. Fresh
Keep Rising to the Top
Lodi Dodi (with Slick Rick)
Let Me Clear My Throat