The Roots have been playing together for over 20 years—rapper Black Thought and drummer Questlove formed the group in 1992. But when they hit the stage, it’s like they just discovered how cool performing for a live audience is. They smile giddily, they giggle to each other, they jump up and down with instruments in hand. They’re doing what they want to do—and, lucky for audiences, what they want to do is wildly entertaining.
The band took the stage at New York’s Best Buy Theater Thursday to celebrate Guitar Center’s 50th anniversary, kicking off their set with a rousing performance of “Table Of Contents (Parts 1 & 2)” off their 1999 album Things Fall Apart. Sousaphonist Tuba Gooding Jr. kicked up his knees and marches across the stage as he played, often looking like he’d been transported from a 4th of July parade, and Black Thought bounced around as he rapped, addressing the audience but also sneaking glances at his bandmates every so often—ah, to be serenaded by Black Thought on a nightly basis.