HIP HOP SUPERSTAR COMMON SITS IN WITH THE SF SYMPHONY…
Written by Meikee Magnetic
Hip-Hop artist, poet, actor and film producer Common graced the stage on Wednesday August 1st for a one night only sold-out show at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall and accompanied by our very own orchestra, the magnificent SF Symphony. Led by conductor Steven Reineke who wore a shiny blue blazer and shiny shoes to match the night was electrifying! Steven waved his conductor baton swaying to Common’s original hip-hop rhythms and trip-hop beats. The four rows of the SF Symphony’s amazing musicians accompanied the Hip Hop ambassador’s tracks perfectly bringing every song to grand levels of sound. In addition, there was a live drummer, bass, guitar, keyboardist and two backing vocalists perfecting timed and extremely tight.
As we arrived there was a long line of well-dressed attendees and fans of the artist. It was one of those nights when you put on your best dress, jewels, and outfit to add onto the elegance of the Symphony Hall. The structure of the building was majestic with large glass windows forming the perfect frame to view City Hall, which was lit up in purple. Yes, the favorite color of Prince but we’ll get to that part later.
Common performed selections from his latest 2016 album, “Black America Again”, along with some of his most memorable hits that had the crowd singing along word for word and not missing a beat. He wore a red jacket, white shirt, pants, and shoes, which gave the impression of his humble attitude and low-key nature. He engaged the audience and talked positive between songs, touching on the subject of Bay Area young black youth killed by police something he was clearly passionate about. A feeling of unity ran over the audience like a tidal wave of positivity as he announced their names one by one giving a more serious nature and deeper meaning to the gathering and his music.
The biggest highlight of the night was when Common expressed his adoration for red wine. A small round table and two chairs were set up mid-stage as he announced with a smile that he also loves the company of a lovely woman. At the same moment, someone from his crew searched the crowd for a lady to join him for a glass of wine while melodic trip-hop played. I’m talking about that really cool acid jazz music that the cool kids listen to. Once the woman was brought up to the stage, he pulled out her chair like a perfect gentleman, poured her a glass and began to perform a romantic track that clearly had her at his fingertips. The audience swooned with glee cheering on the mini soap opera of romance and atmosphere created by the SF Symphony awesome musical rendition. Subtle cheek kisses were exchanged as the cheers grew louder, he was giving a lesson on how to really treat a woman, yes I was taking notes, as were many other gentlemen in the audience and women nodding with approval. As the song ended he escorted her backstage which led to the intermission. After ten minutes the woman came out as cheers and applause filled the room again.
A personal highlight came as the rendition of Prince’s “Darling Nikki”, was performed, an extra special treat as well as an explosion of 80’s goodness that had me on my feet. Common really cares about his crowd radiating positivity and participation with every word, every move and his personality clearly radiated with the audience. Towards the end, he ran up and down the aisles as everyone jumped to their feet dancing and trying to get a close-up glimpse of the superstar. This was a special night led by a gentleman with a good-natured spirit. Someone who cares about the future and the youth of our world and clearly loves what he does for a living. It’s easy to see why he’s so successful, a pure genuine individual spreading love and truth through music and what better way to translate his musical legacy than with San Francisco’s best-kept secret, the SFS. Woohoo, what a night!