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Common Plays ‘The Game’ Out West

Opening night (Sept. 5) for a tour supporting a fresh new album can be very much anything but familiar and solid, but for veteran Chicago MC, Common, it proved to be just that and more as he took the opportunity to showcase his talent and superior showmanship to a sold-out Mezzanine crowd eager to show their dedication and love to one of the most cemented names in hip-hop. Show starters The Knux, with their configuration of MC brothers, Krispy and Rah Almillio, and skilled beat knocker, DJ Cobra, greased the night up with their genre-pushing banger “Cappuccino” and carried the crowd further more with their on take of Digable Planets’ “Rebirth of Slick.” Common, backed by three back up singers, two keyboard players, and one very on point DJ, demanded attention and energy as he tore through classic tracks as the Kanye West credited “Get Em High” and the harmony educing title track from his previous effort, Be. With a handful of fresh cuts off his latest, Finding Forever, and some notable verses of Nas’ “N.Y. State of Mind”, Common completed his duty on stage with a clear mix of bravado and cool that is rarely seen live in current contemporary hip-hop.