Well, I can anyway. Sasha-Frere Jones relates his experience at the Jones Beach concert. His opening paragraph describes the reason why I didn’t attend. He is also unimpressed with Nas nowadays, aren’t we all? Link (via Rafi)

I got to the Rock The Bells hip-hop festival at around 7 P.M.; it started much earlier in the day but I don’t want nine sequential hours of anything. A great live set isn’t enhanced by another, different set, good or bad. Three or four might fit together in a perfect storm, but mostly I experience exhaustion and cancellation when I see a lot of artists in a row.

The Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre is dry by design. Keep that in mind as you speed out to lovely Wantagh. Don’t do what one benighted concertgoer did, sneaking a pint of vodka into the venue and then feeling compelled to furtively gulp the thing down within half an hour. That makes standing up straight an Olympic sport and Monday an impossibility.

Mos Def: it is true—white people like him. So do not-white people, and it’s easy to see why. At a buffet like Rock The Bells, his performance skills are welcome. Mr. Def makes his rhymes clear, enjoys moving around, and seems to accept that his job involves being entertaining. His pants were extremely bright.

Jones Beach security: mostly dedicated to making sure nobody danced to the dancing music or stood on the valuable concrete and plastic seats. And this makes sense. Because that concrete-and-plastic venue might get really torn up if you, like, danced on it in your sneakers. (I am sure there is some rationale for the crowd control, involving liability and possible injury and fire laws.) But how is a five-foot-three woman supposed to see Jay-Z when he shows up to do “Black Republicans” with Nas? Levitate, apparently, because YOU CANNOT STAND ON THE CHAIRS. Weed smoking? Apparently too hard for the bouncers to combat, so they kept a vigilant eye on the sneaky, evil dancers and the flagrant chair-abusers as the “dry” venue filled up with sweet, musty smoke.

Method Man and Redman: Method Man is the one Wu-Tang Clan member who is willing to perform aerobically. People love him. Redman is really lucky Method Man is his friend. I heard a young man, barely of drinking age, say “Who’s Redman?”

Nas: this rapper currently has the #1 album in the country. He said he loves Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson but they are “out of here.” Nas is, according to Nas, the new voice of the young people. “I talk your talk, I dress your dress,” he said. I didn’t see anyone in the audience wearing a white shirt, white jeans, designer sunglasses and a blingy crucifix, so maybe what he meant is that he’s the new voice of Russian real-estate developers. People always talk about what a great lyricist Nas is, and he certainly was when “Illmatic” came out fourteen years ago. Which is maybe why he did more songs from that album than any other album from his catalogue during his set. It was nice of Jay-Z to come out for the “Black Republicans” cameo. Do you know how much people like Jay-Z? More than they like anyone else. I’ve see Jay-Z pop up at three shows, and every time it happens, you remember what it’s like to be at a genuinely exciting event. And then Jay-Z leaves. Bad idea, the Jay-Z cameo, for anyone who is not named Jay-Z.

Q-Tip: Will soon be releasing a new solo album called “The Renaissance” that nobody will care about. Q-Tip released a solo album almost nine years ago that I still love, and nobody cares about that one either. He was wearing an actual backpack and was easily the most energetic performer I saw in four hours of nineties hip-hop. (That’s the organizing principle of this year’s Rock The Bells—don’t be confused by other explanations.) Q-Tip did lots of creative pointing (at his thighs, his head, the sky), danced actual dances, and ran around. He wore a T-shirt bearing the first four bars of lyrics to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Excursions.” After performing six songs alone, Q-Tip was joined by the rest of A Tribe Called Quest. Everybody on the stage and in the audience began jumping around to songs they knew the words to. The bass was gargantuan, possibly too gargantuan. But everybody was in tune, at least for half an hour.