By the time the Beastie Boys -- delayed in New York by bad weather -- finally took the stage, nearly five hours had passed since the 9:30 club's doors had opened, and the floor of the club resembled an airport terminal during a blizzard. Patrons napped, held an impromptu break-dancing contest and enjoyed slices of the pizzas that the band had ordered by way of apology. It takes more than free Domino's to command such patience, and the Beastie Boys quickly demonstrated how they'd built up such a reserve of goodwill. Opening with their 1994 single "Sure Shot," the rappers, now in their late thirties, led a mostly college-age crowd through a survey of 18 years of recordings.
Mike D.'s codgerish way of discouraging crowd-surfing ("It's not good hygiene," he chided one airborne fellow) and Adam Yauch's graying hair notwithstanding, there was little to suggest that the rappers, much less their material, had aged a tick over the past two decades. "Shake Your Rump" sounded as kidney-rattlingly original as it did in 1989, and the group leaped around like the oversexed mooks who made the sophomoric "Licensed to Ill" in 1986 rather than the politically correct elder statesmen whose new album, "To the 5 Boroughs," is a post-Sept. 11 love letter to their native New York. The audience's affection was tested only when the Beastie Boys stopped playing after only 45 minutes (a ticket for the rare nightclub show went for $300 on eBay). But only a few expressed anger, which suggests the group might have saved its pizza money after all.
-- Andrew Beaujon