For its 5th year, The Roots Picnic was expanded to two days (both at Festival Pier). Day one went very well, but bad weather made a mess of yesterday’s second day. Diplo’s Major Lazer was able to take advantage of nice weather with a lively party set, but the weather turned sometime during Chill Moody’s set in the tent. Storm clouds grew nearer as the crowd awaited Rakim’s set, but was eventually told that the inclement weather made it unsafe to use the main stage and that Diplo’s tent set was being switched with Rakim’s set time.
Just as everyone started rushing to the tent, the rain started coming…hard. Eventually, the tent was packed with nearly everyone at the festival and Diplo was rushing up to the stage to start his all-of-the-sudden set. The storm seemed to catch everyone by surprise, but passed quickly. And while the crowd got crazy to hometown DJ Diplo, the crews got the main stage set for Rakim and The Roots.
The Roots came out first, performing several songs before the skilled rapper Rakim hit the stage to perform his classic album Paid in Full. Unfortunately, Rakim didn’t get on stage until after the three-song cutoff for photographers to get what they need in the photo pit…and what they (and I) needed (and wanted) was some shots of Rakim. While that bothered me and the other photographers, more damage was to come. First, it was the sound. The rain had done some damage, and the sound came in and out for a few songs.
The problem was eventually fixed and the crowd got back into the show, enjoying Rakim and awaiting Kid Cudi. But…after Rakim left the stage, Black Thought asked if he could get real with the Philly crowd. “Kid Cudi ain’t performing.” Like ripping of a band-aid, Black Thought had stunned the crowd. The weather had caused delays and Cudi’s plane had to land early. He wasn’t in Philly, wasn’t at Festival Pier, and wouldn’t be anytime soon. So, The Roots told the crowd they’d keep playing and the crowd approved enough to keep it going.
Many disappointed customers headed for the gates immediately, but a good amount stayed to watch the hometown heroes (and surprise guest Freeway) try to salvage the show. And, as much as I would have liked to see Kid Cudi, The Roots will always be a better show than him. So, while it was a tumultuous night, The Roots played their hearts out and closed the night out with as much of a bang as they could. It wasn’t the way anyone pictured the two-day event ending, but The Roots finished it off with some good vibes.