Imagine my surprise to see HR on a bill about 2 minutes from my house. The Bad Brains were here summer before last, and I was lucky enough to open for a band I have maximun respect for. HR is tricky though. When we last spoke, he seemed like he was someone else from the HR of old. His Rastafarian mind state was now combined with Peace and Love, Peace and Love. He was subdued, and even though he had taken it down a notch, the show was still high energy. Would he show again, solo in Asbury Park? He has been known to quit shows after one song, perform with a motorcycle helmet on, not face the crowd, mumble incoherently…I mean should I go on? I took a chance and called the Devil Dick last minute and we checked the show out. There were a few opening bands, but out of the three, the one that stood out was a band from Maryland called Lionize. They were tight all around, and brought the vibe to the less than 50, that’s right I said less than 50 people in a room that probably holds 350-375. We both wondered if HR would show, trying to figure out in the crowd if any of these people really knew who the hell HR was. I saw a few old heads, but most people looked like they just wanted to drink on a Wednesday night. Wondering again if he would show, I turned around right to HR, who was making his way along the bar. I offered my Respect as I always do when I see him, and our questions were answered: Human Rights was in the building.
His show, while not blowing any doors off of the place, was a mixture of a bunch of new stuff, including a Hip Hop song (which was a Hip Hop beat and HR saying: where’s the ladies at? where’s the honeys at?), some older stuff and audience request: Dream Girl, and some Bad Brains covers. He broke into his cover of “Day Tripper” from The Youth Are Getting Restless, but also hit up “Leaving Babylon” before he left the stage. A few minutes later he pushed into a version of “Re-Ignition”. That’s what I’m talking about. The only disturbing thing was that for the most part, like the last time I saw him, he was attempting to play (was the thing even turned up?) a guitar. I don’t know whether it was just an attempt to break out, a pacifier on stage, or if he was honestly playing. The guy is a grandfather of hardcore, an ambassador of Rastafari and Reggae music, so I could care less whether or not his guitar made noise. It was worth the price for Re-Ignition. Much Respect to HR, as crazy as he is. He left the stage after blessing families, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins, uncles, aunties, and with the spirit of the Almighty Jah in him, he was gone.
Click Thumbnail for Video from the Show