Day two of The Meadows had much to live up to after the performance by Jay-Z on day one. Luckily, festival-goers had Gorillaz to look forward to at the end of night.
One of the earlier acts of the day was a throwback to classic hip-hop parties of the past. LL Cool J, the native Queens rapper was on his home turf to provide one of the most fun performances of the day. He opened with his classic “Mama Said Knock You Out,” a tune that most people will know by sound yet not know the artist. Even if one didn’t know the song, it’s hard to not jump along to the beat of the chorus. LL Cool J joked during his set that people probably only knew him from hosting the Grammys or Lip Sync Battle. He was on a mission to provide the best set as possible.
The Meadows Festival is only in its second year, yet its seemingly become a festival that native Queens artists must show up to. LL Cool J asked the crowd, “Are you ready for classic hip-hop?” and followed by stunning everybody by bringing out Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest. The two Queens natives rocked the crowd as they performed a mash-up of “Vibrant Thing” and “Doin It.” One member from a Tribe Called Quest is a wonderful surprise. However, LL Cool J decided to take it up a notch and bring out other member Jarobi White for a performance of “Award Tour.” The three artists did take time to remember the late Phife Dawg. As the set continued, LL Cool J started throwing money into the crowd during “Headsprung.”
The guests kept on coming as LL Cool J brought out DMC of Run DMC for a rendition of “It’s Tricky,” another hip-hop classic that everybody would recognize whether hearing it from a video game or as part of a soundtrack in a movie. There were circles forming where people would shuffle along to the music. It was a dance party of old school formed in 2017.
LL Cool J didn’t let up with the guests and also brought out Grandmaster Flash and Melle and Scorpio of the Furious. Near the end of his set, he also provided the crowd with laughs as he joked the reason he had a daytime set was because he needed to go to Los Angeles to “film NCIS L.A. and find terrorists and shit.” He stated he does a lot of things now like acting and hosting but he’s also a rapper and that’s where his love lies. He gave Queens a last nod of appreciation and left the stage.
Over on the American Eagle stage was De La Soul, the funky hip-hop trio from Long Island. New York has such a rich history with hip-hop, and this trio extended the dance party started by LL Cool J. If one needed their hip-hop fix to continue, this was the set to be at. The trio played many of their hits like “Me, Myself, and I” and “Stakes Is High.” People were getting “lit” as current linguistics would put it. That word is highly associated with hip-hop and that’s the genre that was reigning supreme on day two.
While on the topic of “lit,” the next act made it a point to find out what section of the crowd was “most lit.” Future on the main stage wanted his crowd to get excited. He made the left and right sides compete against one another to see who could yell the loudest. While LL Cool J and De La Soul are legends of hip-hop, Future is, well, the future. He owned the main stage and made a name for himself in the genre. He started off with “Blase” his collaboration with Ty Dolla Sign and Rae Sremmurd. He continued to perform songs like “Same Damn Time” and “Stick Talk.” His partner, DJ Esco provided support for his performance by intermittently asking the crowd to cheer to once again prove which side was more “lit.”
As if the crowd wasn’t riled up enough, Future decided to bring out guest performer Yo Gotti to to perform “Rake It Up.” The crowd was extremely excited. However, there is another artist featured on that song, Nicki Minaj. She also came out for her part during the song and that turned out to be one of the most shocking reveals of the day. The already growing crowd advanced 30-ft forward packing to the front like sardines to get pictures and video recordings of the Queens Native rapper. After she left the stage, DJ Esco asked Future “How you gonna bring out Nick Minaj and not tell anyone?” and Future replied “I just had to, we’re in Queens so I just had to.” Future laughed with such amusement at the reactions he drew from the crowd. He didn’t stop with the guest performers as he brought out Young Thug to perform a few songs with Future taking a backseat. Young Thug performed “Pick Up The Phone” and “Lifestyle.”
Following his guest performers, Future took back the stage by performing “Comin Out Strong.” Then, the moment that everyone in the crowd was waiting for came when the melodic intro of “Mask Off” began to play. People turned to one another for confirmation of “This is gonna be lit” as the music sped up for Future to rap to. “Mask Off” is one of 2017’s greatest anthems and the crowd all bounced around to it.
With so much hip-hop dominating day two it was a nice change of pace to see TV On The Radio over on the Shea stage. Whether it was unintentional or not, this band also hails from New York and looked as if they were extremely comfortable playing for their fellow New Yorkers. They began by playing “Young Liars,” which got a few reactions from the crowd to raise their hands and a sway along. When they played “Happy Idiot,” people began to jump up and down aggressively due to the upbeat pace that was picked up. One of the more emotional moments was when they played their collaboration with the late David Bowie “Province,” a slower ballad like song. They ended their set with “Staring at the Sun,” a slower mellow song that was a perfect ending to their performance.
“Finally, someone let me out of my cage,” was definitely a phrase running through most people’s heads as they made their way to the main stage to see the headliner of the night, Gorillaz. They began their extended set with “M1 A1.” The stage was filled with dimly lit visuals that gave the main stage a sense of ambience that’s suited to their style of rock music. For the first thirty minutes of the set, they played many of their slower materials and it sometimes felt slightly too slow. Some of the crowd could be seen leaving to catch the final moments of M.I.A. who were playing at the same time.
Luckily, Damon Albarn announced to the crowd that they were going to take it up and proceeded to “Let Me Out” with Pusha T coming out for a guest performance. The guest appearances were announced earlier in the day if one was subscribed to the Meadows email list so there wasn’t a huge sense of secrecy but the guests were still very welcomed. The next guest was Bootie Brown to perform “Dirty Harry.” The new album from Gorillaz features many collaborations so it was expected to see many faces on stage. One of the more recognized guests was D.R.A.M of “Brocolli” fame. His collaboration with the Gorillaz “Andromeda” is a fast-tuned disco like track that provided enough beats per minute for watchers to bounce around to.
When Jamie Principle came out to perform “Sex Murder Party,” many decided it was time to relax and save their energy for the more upbeat songs. The song and it’s catchy hook still got people to sing along.
De La Soul came out to assist the Gorillaz on “Feel Good Inc.” Which was one of the two most anticipated songs of the night from the band. The band ended their set with “We Got The Power.” However, there was no way they would end without playing their most well known song. There was an encore performance with the legendary Mos Def on their collaboration “Stylo” to which the crowd went wild seeing the New York. Their actual final song of the night was the crowd favorite “Clint Eastwood” with Del The Funky Homosapien. The hit song is typically performed with other rappers filling the role of Del The Funky Homosapien, so it was an extremely pleasing experience to hear the original vocals live. The crowd chanted along to the chorus as well rapped the entire verses by heart. It was a moment that anyone growing up in the ’00s lived for.
The guest-packed day of the festival featured many unforgettable faces and went down as one of the most pleasant surprise-filled day of the weekend.