Public Enemy’s Performance Was so Zen That They Forgot in Which City They Were At
Yeaah Boyyyy! Who knew? When I was 13, watching Public Enemy’s Fight The Power live concert from VHS from an old tube television in our living room in the middle of the forest, that one day Flavor Flav would be posing at me, pointing out his forefinger against my lens as if trying to pierce it.
Over two decades after Public Enemy’s legendary albums such as It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988) and Fear of a Black Planet (1990) MC’s, Chuck D and Flavor Flav, performed in Turku’s Ruisrock festival on Friday evening under the eyes of thousands with such heat and concentration that Flav forgot in which city they were at.
“Wsup Helsinki!” he screamed.
“How are you feeling, Helsinki?”
“Make some noise, Helsinki!”
The crowd shouted objections, but Flav couldn’t hear it.
The group played all the classics from Bring the Noise to Fight the Power. Flavor Flav wore his trademark clock around his neck and screamed, “Yeaaah Boyyy!” During Yo! Bum Rush the Show Flav sat behind the drums and played the funky beat while Chuck D rapped and S1W (Security of the First World), a group of army clothed men stood in an erected pose, a symbol of strong black males.
Flav and Chuck were hyped on energy and their live performance of jumping, running around and Flav stage diving, proved once again that age is nothing but a number. After all, Chuck D is 54 and Flavor Flav 56.
One of the apparent changes from the ’90s years and their fist-in-the-air-style was how Chuck D thanked the audience between the songs with his palms together, looking humble and religious.
Public Enemy has always been known, besides skilful rapping also of DJing ahead of its time.
Their original DJ, Terminator X, was replaced in ’99 with Dj Lord, who has won more battles than can be counted with two hands. Lord’s hands displayed the incredible accuracy and timing and sense of rhythm, when he beat juggled Nirvana’s Smell’s Like Teen Spirit, turning, twisting, spinning . . . Needless to say, the crowd went berserk.
Public Enemy has always been against prejudice and human rights. Especially the rights of black people.
In the era of terrorism, Flavor Flav screamed, “Fuck Isis!”
“Fuck Boko Haram!”
And after an hour-long show, Flav held a speech of several minutes:
“I am against racism. I am against separatism because it’s causing all the world wars out there.”
“You also have to take care of yourself. You are the most important person in your life. Good luck with your goals.”
Flav paused and then he said:
“I want to offer my sincere apologies to Finland. I didn’t mean to say Helsinki. I am sorry.”
And the Legends stepped off the stage, accompanied by the cheers, screams and applauds that showed no sign of ending.