The 40 greatest concerts in Boston history: 19

Beastie Boys | Worcester Centrum | August 25, 1998
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  October 25, 2006

Keeping it surreal: The Beastie Boys at the Centrum, August 25, 1998. By Matt Ashare

The Beastie Boys in 1998
The genius of the Beasties is their talent as tastemakers. They mixed rock and rap at just the right time to start their career, went crazy-ass digital with the Dust Brothers on Paul’s Boutique long before anyone had heard of Beck, and then had the prescience to pick up turntable genius Mix Master Mike just as a wave of old-school crate diggers were taking over the underground. And in 1998 at the Centrum, when there were plenty of other things to be paying attention to, they stunned a capacity crowd by unleashing Mix Master Mike and a couple of turntables on Worcester. Just Mike out there in the middle of the Centrum, spinning and scratching Rush into a rush of hip-hop energy. When the three Beasties finally hit the stage 45 minutes later, we’d all had a dizzying lesson in the turntable as a musical instrument. And it got better from there, as they grabbed the mics and, graying hair and all, rapped their way through a couple of tunes before grabbing their guitar, bass, and drums set-up to lay down their open-ended funk grooves. When was the last time a band has such a firm handle on pop culture?
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