by Shelly Bell — photos via their previous performance at the Fillmore
When a premiere venue such as The Filmore – DC offers you a legendary act such as The Roots as an alternative to drinking and partying in a large club of tipsy unpredictable strangers, you take that offer immediately! To the naked eye the room was packed with people in party hats, and noise makers. Women sashaying in party dresses or chilling in heels alongside men poised in blazers or hanging out in jeans and t-shirts, the typical New Year’s Eve party. The stage sparkled with a colorful light show reflecting the energy vibrating from the audience – diverse, intriguing and changeable.
Cheerful body language filled the room from people pressed against the second floor balcony to standing room only on the bottom floor. Blue lights circled the microphone at the front center of the stage waiting to be touched. In reality, the audience was more than party goers and drinking buddies. The atmosphere was filled with more than simple anticipation. This was a wall to wall gathering of eccentric, relaxed fans of The Roots. This means less partying to random record spinning and more high energy live soul quaking music thumping. The Roots took the stage about 11:00pm. As soon as James Poyser (keyboard player) began the opening “dooh, dah dap , dooh” on the keys the crowd went wild. His chords called each member on stage to take their positions one by one. The energy built steadily as the guitarists, the tuba player, and Quest Love took the stage. Black Thought was the tipping point. As soon as he grabbed the microphone what was perceived as an average night exploded into the ultimate New Year’s Eve experience.
With the band’s energy amped to a trillion the crowd had no choice but to follow. Anyone who has been to The Roots’ show can attest to the awe-inspiring nature of bombastic musicianship, Hip-Hop, neo-soul, and groove displayed during the night. They flowed seamlessly from song to song as the tuba player and guitarists entertained the crowd with dance moves. Using a plethora of adjectives to express the level of musicianship and cohesive energy projected from a band such as The Roots could only oversimplify the reality of their talents. The Roots created a stage production of a fantastical groove of topics ranging from politics to love. Counting down the New Year with legends was an honor and privilege, but the audience could not let the night end with champagne toasts and balloon dropping! As soon as The Roots left the stage the crowd roared for an encore. Being the legends that they are they returned to the stage, rocked out for another 30minutes ushering the fans right into their new year’s resolutions. This was an experience that you did not want to miss.