Jimmy Fallon did not hesitate to go big for the debut of the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night, shelling out for an opening sequence shot by Spike Lee and then making his money back by collecting 100$ bills from a roll call of celebrity guests ranging from Kim Kardashian to Joan Rivers (and culminating in Stephen Colbert‘s memorable “Welcome to 11:30, B**ch!)
All that, not to mention a swank new set designed by Eugene Lee and the addition of auxiliary brass artillery to the Legendary Roots Crew line-up (welcome Dave Guy and Ian Hendrickson-Smith of The Dap-Kings!). After an extremely humble intro wherein Jimmy introduced himself to the mainstream(er) American audience that just manages to stay up past the 11 o’clock snooze, gave his mom and dad their propers and had a verklempt bro-mance moment with right hand man Steve Higgins, Fallon and The Roots let the world know that they are fully aware this new time-slot comes with an instruction booklet (autographed by Conan O’Brien) that reads: Go Hard Or Go Home. They went H.A.M.
Though the first big gun the boys drew for was movie star/dance instructor Will Smith, the biggest was clearly alt-rock dinosaurs U2, who blew the top off the Top Of The Rock (we on the roof!) in a reprise of their 1987 rooftop concert in downtown Los Angeles, immortalized in the video for “Where The Streets Have No Name.” Against the twilight skyline of New York City, the reigning kings of rock ripped through a keyed-up version of their new jam “Invisible” (watch below) that is destined to be a moment that people tell their grandkids about–and talk about under “great TV moments” when there is no more such thing as TV and we are all living in social media cyberspace all the time.
Whatever you think of U2’s aging rockstar style or Bono‘s self-appointed status as saviour of Africa, last night the lads proved why they are rockstars in the first damn place. Be warned; some dinosaurs have big sharp, teeth. A few more observations: 1) Lorne Michaels really is Full-uminati status if he is able to arrange for the Empire State Building to be lit up in Red White & Blue, just to give his golden boy Jimmy the right optics for his debut broadcast. 2) It had to be 5 below or better in NYC last night at sundown, yet 3/4ths of U2 are rocking the free world with no hats on! Which prompts the question(s): Where are their moms? Heat lamps on a hundred thousand jillion?? Are the Irish not made of the same flesh and blood as we delicate New Yorkers???
Even the magical big-ness of that moment, however, may have been surpassed for us Okayplayer heads by the quiet power of U2’s acoustic, indoors rendition of their other new jam “Ordinary Love.” Showing the band’s full range and earning goose bumps all on its own, it will also forever be remembered as the time Bono paid tribute to Questlove by working his name into the song’s soaring hook for a dub plate-style shout out of “Quest…loooove!” A moment which, not surprisingly, had everybody’s favorite drummer’s jaw on the floor, as he shared via twitter:
Watch all the fun below: