Published Nov 01, 2005The Roots have been rocking shows as a band all over the world almost non-stop for the past decade and a half. Seeing them perform live is a privilege in contemporary music. It's also a workout where you feel pitifully out of shape by the end of the night. The band onstage is all smiles and high-fives, autographing T-shirts and ready to do it all over again on another continent the next night. The legendary Roots crew thoroughly entertained, educated and toyed with their audience in Toronto on a rainy October night. Their near-two-hour performance at the Docks was dense but still organic. The music barely stopped; it flowed, changed and switched on a dime from song to song. As a band, the Roots were completely in synch and due to their incredible stamina, were two steps ahead of their audience the entire time. The show began with a minimal drum pattern from ?uestlove, to which Black Thought performed a five minute freestyle introduction. His flow has developed into an instrument, which is played fast and is clear and controlled. It fused with ?uestlove's drums to lead the band through "Concerto of a Desperado," "Ultimate," "What They Do" and "Mello My Man." Kamal's keyboards and Hub's bass recreated the melodies, modernising and blending the songs into each other. This was just the beginning of the show though. Throughout the night, each band member had a ten-minute solo, and the band spontaneously (it appeared) broke into cover medleys that ranged from Notorious B.I.G. to Ray Charles to Wu-Tang Clan to Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie" to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," just for fun. Then it was back to more classics from their catalogue and the most recent album, The Tipping Point, like "Don't Say Nothing" and "Star." The Roots are still strong and legendary on stage.