May 25, 2004
Not a Common sight
By Canyon Cody
Published in The Heights
This year's surprise end of year concert was a surprise for even the students in the Undergraduate Goverment who organized the event. While rumors spread around campus about who the secret performer would be (Spin Doctors? Maroon 5? Blues Traveler?), the real headlining act, Talib Kweli, canceled three days before the concert.
Liz Fulton, co-director of Community Events, scrambled to find a new performer at the last minute and miraculously managed to bring Chicago rapper Common to help Boston College students celebrate the last day of classes.
Throughout the afternoon giddy BC students enjoyed the carnival atmosphere in the Mod parking lot, where there was no shortage of free burgers, hot dogs, and fried dough. With classes finally over, students played on an inflatable obstacle course, escaped from the spring heat in the dunk tank, and took advantage of the caricaturist.
In the early afternoon, Kotter performed on the side stage while students enjoyed the festivities and beautiful spring weather. There was supposed to be a number of bands that were all going to perform, but like Talib Kweli, they all canceled at the last minute, leaving only Kotter to rock the stage until it was time for Common to perform.
During our interview, Common said he was excited to perform at BC. "Normally when I perform, everyone in the crowd knows me and all the words to my songs. They've been fans for like 10 years, so all I have to do is show up and everyone goes crazy."
"But somewhere like here, most people probably don't even know who I am, so that just means I have to give an even better show and earn myself new fans," he continued.
Common's performance was energetic and entertaining, filled with a variety of new songs from his latest, Electric Circus, and his upcoming album Be, along with old-school classics from Resurrection and Like Water for Chocolate. The crowd was most excited when the opening chords from "The Light" began, screaming and singing along with the chorus. Common's affable stage presence and good humor was the perfect match for the great weather and collective good mood of the students done with classes.
The DJ gave an impressive exhibition in turntablism, scratching up a storm as Common showed off his b-boy skills by break dancing across the stage. In contrast to most rappers today, Common has always worked to keep all aspects of hip-hop alive instead of focusing exclusively on the emcee.
Common then asked for a volunteer from the crowd to come up on stage and freestyle with him. Plenty of aspiring rappers raised their hands for the chance to rhyme with Common, but only one, Kahleil Blair, BC '04, aka Maverik, got to come up to exchange verses with him onstage.
Common opened with an amazing freestlye that must have been hard for Blair to follow, proving once again why even Jay-Z admits, "Truthfully/ I wanna rhyme like Common Sense."
But even Common, along with everyone in the crowd, was impressed by Blair's impromptu performance. Maybe if the headlining act cancels at the last second again next year, then BC could get Blair to perform instead.
Unfortunately, the entire performance lasted only an hour and Common quickly left after the show, leaving everyone wanting a little bit more. BC students took advantage of the great weather and lingered in the Mod parking lot, enjoying the moment of fun before studying for finals began.