Perhaps the most humorous moments of the day took place before I even got to RTB. The line of crackers on 125th and Lexington was worth the price of admission alone (although technically I didn't have to pay anything to have seen that portion). I noticed the great white mass comin' up the block from my apartment on 120th. An amorphous mass of caucasian out of towners, holdin' the shit in their pants only due to their "strength in numbers" mindset, anxiously scuttlin' towards the special MTA event buses.
Little do they know of course that this particular section of two-fifth is most renowned not for the Apollo Theater, bootleggers, African oils, and the other ammenities of the most famous Harlem street, but for the dopeheads that congregate their each morning. One RTBer noted how smart Rock the Bells was for sending vendors out to 125th to sell water. I didn't have the heart to explain that one of the most lucrative ghetto hustles in the post-911 era is the summertime Poland Springs gig. And that today was a serious payday for some of these "vendors" who had been waiting for an event like this all year.
One "tour guide," or, as we refer to them here in the hood, dopefiend even convinced a bunch of oh-so-gullible light-skinnededs to walk with him down to the end of 125th street (0nly about four avenue blocks... longer than street blocks to you out-of-towners), up an onramp, and down the sidewalk deficient Triborough bridge to Randall's Island. A hike, which might have been worthwhile had people gone their directly from the train and bypassed the approximately thirty five minute line to the event buses, was instead taken up by several non-tri-staters who were near the front of the line to get on the bus. Well, at least they got some exercise.
Most of the Harlem residents were completely unaware of the concert and stopped frequently on their drives to and from wherever to ask the white folk, "What the hell are y'all waiting in a huge line in Harlem for?" Needless to say groups like the Wu-Tang Clan, EPMD, Cypress Hill, and Public Enemy haven't been a hot topic of conversation in US hoods for close to a decade now, and Rage Against the Machine never was. And as much as I enjoyed the subsequent show and love all the acts that performed, I realize that the most 2007 hood-relevant artist performing that day was Flava Flav, distantly followed by Talib Kweli (despite what white people think, black people do generally like and respect Kweli). If a Harlem native is going to pay 100 bones for a concert it better be Beyonce or Summer Jam (good thing I'm not a Harlem native... just a gentrifier).