Wally Steffen, 31, of Greenpoint, first saw the Beastie Boys as a third grader when they opened for Madonna. “They got booed off the stage at Madison Square Garden,” he recalled.
The Beasties were certainly in no danger of that fate last week in the McCarren Park Pool as they played their first-ever show in the borough.
It didn’t hurt that their set opener was a song called “Hello, Brooklyn.”
And while the Beastie Boys (Mike Diamond, Adam Horovitz and Adam Yauch) are certainly a little longer in the tooth than this reporter remembered them, they were no worse for the wear. Indeed, these days Yauch is starting to look like a dad with hair that yields more salt than pepper, and Mike D.’s unruly curls and weathered face are starting to make him resemble a middle-aged Bob Dylan.
Still, with the aid of longtime DJ Mix Master Mike, and a cameo appearance by Run of Run-DMC, the Beasties alternated between playing instruments and prancing around the stage with missing a beat or breaking a hip.
The Beasties also made sure to include a few of their classic punk numbers, including “Heart Attack Man” off “Ill Communication,” as if to remind their frat boy fan contingency that their roots are indeed in New York hardcore. However, the most rousing performances came from early ’90s staples “Check Your Head” and “Ill Communication,” the two albums that ushered the Lollapalooza generation into Beastie Boys fandom.
And although the band recently released “The Mix-Up,” an instrumental studio album, the night’s set list stuck to a well-received, if predictable, selection of hits and party jams such as “Sure Shot,” “Gratitude” and “Paul Revere.”
That isn’t to say the Beasties weren’t anxious to prove their worth as legit instrumentalists by playing the meandering, somber track “Off The Grid” from the new album.
And just when it seemed like the sea of gyrating fans in cargo shorts had enough, the three aging rappers broke out “No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn,” a song they wrote 20 years ago, to close the set.
And judging by the sea of pumping fists, everyone in the crowd was still wide awake.