Common - House of Blues - 12/21/11
Attempting to get everyone in the mood last night, Power 106's DJ Reflex spun classics from folks like Souls of Mischief, A Tribe Called Quest, and Pete Rock & CL Smooth. He attempted to throw in some more recent, mainstream songs and played a few cuts off of Watch the Throne but the crowd wasn't feeling it. ("Niggas In Paris" was only played once.)
With no opening act and no hype man, Common came on promptly at 10, backed by his drummer, keyboard player and DJ. He dedicated the first song "Dreamer" to J. Dilla. He then went back and forth between tracks off of his critically acclaimed album Be and his new work The Dreamer/The Believer.
The first highlight of the night was when Common pulled a woman from the crowd onstage after performing "Come Close." He sat her on a stool; she explained that she was married but was still willing to have some fun. He asked her name and then spit a freestyle based off of it.
He then told a story about how a friend that had just gotten out of county jail called him for relationship advice. The second highlight came when Stevie Wonder joined him onstage. Every cell phone camera in the House of Blues went off. Common had said earlier that he was in the building, but this was a total surprise.
He closed out the show with "Celebrate," with James Fauntleroy singing the hook. For the encore he performed "Universal Mind Control," bringing out a group of five break dancing kids, probably ranging from about five to 12 years old. They were a hit with the crowd, who cheered them on as they spun on their heads.
Overall, it was great to see Common, but his performance of some of him newer songs -- mainly from Finding Forever and Universal Mind Control -- seemed forced. He will always be at his best rapping over a No I.D., J. Dilla or Kanye West-produced beat.
Personal Bias: I was disappointed he didn't play "I Used to Love H.E.R."
The Crowd: Head-nodding hip-hop purists and lots of couples.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I mean I knew he was fine, but in person... Damn!"
Set list below.