As Dave Chappelle brought his historic NYC run to a close last night, the energy inside Radio City Music Hall Friday night for the 10th and final show was set to ‘ecstatic’. We were lucky enough to have been in the house for many of the shows this week and while Dave’s stand up routine stayed relatively the same from night to night, his delivery last night was crackling with calm clarity.
There was no musical guest billed for last night but a refrain had begun circulating amongst the proverbial little birdies the day before that Yasiin Bey was in NYC and might make a surprise appearance. We asked Dave himself Thursday night after the Erykah Badu show and he said “just wait and see.” Wait we did and see we did, as immediately following Chappelle’s set, on to the stage Yasiin came with his signature red microphone. Bey ran through a series of solo joints including “Casa Bey” and “The Ecstatic” to name a few. He then took a pause and addressed the crowd “there has been a lot of talk lately but I just want to say that I am very happy to be here. I’m not going to say any more…but I am very happy to be here” before bringing out his partner in Black Star rhyme Talib Kweli for an, ahem, rawkus rendition of their classic performance of “Respiration” that brought down the house. That intro to “Respiration” will never get old, with Bey emphasizing his last lines “surrounded by hate and still I love home.” Next was the J Dilla produced “History” which featurs Kweli off The Ecstatic and Hi-Tek was in the DJ booth making the picture complete for Reflection Eternal to run through “The Blast.” (see some fan-captured videos here)
What an amazing night to cap a tremendous run of comedy and music. Donnell Rawlings opened 8 of the 10 shows. Dave was in turn up form every night, attending the aftershow with drink and smoke in hand, taking pictures with any and everyone, then off to the after party. Spotted in the house last night: M-1, D Prosper, Santi White, Spank Rock, Amanda Blank, Rashad Smith, Amanda Seales, and of course Stan Lathan who was there every night.
We’re no Stan Lathan but Okayplayer was in the house (almost) every night as well and you can get our full night-by-night recap here, starting with opening night and covering every musical guest, including the two surprise appearances (from Kanye West and Black Star, respectively). Chappelle could not have ended his NYC term on a better note–hopefully just the first chapter of a whole new era of Chappelle-ness.