Brooklyn was treated to a special superhero team up between The Roots and Jim James for State of the Union: An Evening of Collaborative Performances last night at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park. What began as a bummer of an evening with drizzly rainstorms and a damp looking crowd in ponchos and umbrellas quickly turned around as soon as Jim James took the stage. He made his way through all 9 tracks on his latest solo recording Regions of Light and Sound of God – his wild mane of long wavy locks at times threatening to steal the show.
The Roots came out next and did what they do best, masterfully working the crowd into a swelling, cheering mass. The ride was a funk-filled boom-bap journey replete with a rock-metal guitar solo section, a drum off between Questo and Frank Knuckles and a serious dose of low end from Mark Kelley. Kamal and James Poyser held it down on the keys while Black Thought was in rare form, slicing and dicing lyrics like a skillful chef (which, incidentally, he is, as well). The real treat, however, came when The Roots and Jim James took the stage together at the end of the night. They kicked things off with The Roots’ “Dear God” – a track from 2010’s How I Got Over featuring Jim James. They went on to perform covers of Prince‘s “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man,” Bill Withers‘ “Use Me” and ended the show with a version of John Lennon‘s “Instant Karma” – a song that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Naturally, Okayplayer was on hand to capture it all. To relive the experience just rock a poncho and sit under the sprinkler in your backyard before you check out Mel D. Cole‘s brilliant photos above. Okayplayer TV video montage below.