It seemed like the worst career move imaginable when it was announced that The Roots would be the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Not only was it a talk show that ran at 12:35 in the morning, but I don’t think very many people expected Fallon to be the least bit entertaining. But, somehow, Late Night has become the most musically daring and in-touch network talk show, ever. Who knows how much, if any, of a part The Roots play in the expansive musical knowledge and taste the show displays on a weekly basis, but their jamming with many of the guests has become a rock and roll landmark of sorts, like playing Saturday Night Live or dating Winona Ryder (dated reference I know, but Saturday Night Live used to be a big deal, I swear).
In addition, these jams became a farm system for future Roots collaborators for their upcoming album, choosing Joanna Newsom, the ladies of Dirty Projectors and My Morning Jacket’s/Monsters of Folk’s Yim Yames as lucky indie all-stars. Yames, in fact, was kind enough to join The Roots on a night where Fallon’s musical guest was… The Roots.
In anticipation of the Tuesday release of How I Got Over, The Roots, accompanied by Yames, a full orchestra, and backing choir, used the late night stage to perform “Dear God 2.0”, a song which adds some flare and rhymes to the Monsters of Folk original.
A few immediate observations:
— I like the XTC version of this song better.
— Although this song is gimmicky, the hook makes it work. Somehow, there was a sweet R&B slow jam in this song and cheers to The Roots for finding it.
— I wish Joanna Newsom was playing the harp instead.
— Yames blows the ending; needed more reverb to hide his inner Kermit.
— Off topic, but watching one of the evening’s other guests Jim Breuer in 3x speed is 3x better than normal Jim Breuer.
Check out the performance for yourself below. And if you want to hear the album version of this or any of the tracks from How I Got Over, The Roots are streaming it at their MySpace for all to hear. That’s industry for “it leaked”.