Saturday Night: De La Soul Celebrates Saturdays, Old Age at Yoshi's

Tamara Palmer
De La Soul at Yoshi's.
De La Soul 
April 2, 2011

@ Yoshi's SF

Better than: Spending Saturday with people who do not have an awesome song called "(A Roller Skating Jam Named) Saturdays."

De La Soul posted up at Yoshi's this past Friday and Saturday, performing two short sets each night. Saturday's hour-ish long first set flew by quickly. It was a blur of hands in the air and fragments of nostalgic phrases from a trio (best known as Posdnuos, Dave, and Maceo) that has been together since uniting in a Long Island high school in 1987.

Two years after forming, in 1989, De La Soul released its seminal, platinum-selling debut album 3 Feet High and Rising, a safer and far more humorous entry point into hip-hop than N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton for many a suburban kid at the time. And Saturday, the group immediately took it back to the D.A.I.S.Y. Age (a song from the album, and one moniker for the positive hip-hop of the '90s) without the assistance of any day glow with "Potholes in My Lawn." They then almost immediately jumped forward nearly a decade to offer a few licks of "Oooh," which on record was a memorable collaboration with fellow East Coast rapper Redman from 1997, neatly showing how theirs is a timeless sound.

It wasn't immediately apparent why, during this brief performance, the group devoted a few minutes to rock a James Brown interlude, but they seemed to be having fun.

"Do you know James Brown for real?" Dave quizzed the crowd.

"They know Chris Brown," Posdnuos surmised after scanning some younger faces amongst the thirty- and forty-somethings.

Tamara Palmer
Posdnuos and Dave.
​While they sound strong and lively while performing the songs, we equally enjoyed such intermittent commentary; the fact that these three can still easily draw fun and laughs out of each other after almost a quarter century together is likely the key to De La Soul's longevity.

We saw a handful of infants in the crowd, but the age range in attendance turned out to be broader than we thought. It wasn't long before they stopped the performance in order to lead the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to a 77-year-old woman in the audience. "Maceo is 72, Posdnuous is 73, and I just turned 38 last week," added Dave.

Possibly because of the day of the show, "(A Roller Skating Jam Named) Saturdays" was bound to be a highlight, eclipsing even "Me, Myself and I," arguably De La Soul's most well-known offering. The opening strains of Taana Gardner's disco classic "Heartbeat" signaled the arrival of another classic, "Buddy," and before we knew it, the trio had disappeared off-stage and the house lights were rising.

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: If I wake up on a Saturday morning thinking it's another pressurized work day, "(A Roller Skating Jam Named) Saturdays" kicks into my head when I realize it's not.

Random detail: Posdnuos remarked that this audience had more energy than the one the night before.

By the way: De La Soul's Art Official Intelligence III album is expected to come out this year.

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Location Info

Yoshi's San Francisco

1330 Fillmore, San Francisco, CA

Category: Music

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