Bootleg City: DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince in Los Angeles, June ’88

It’s been a strange week here in Bootleg City. Without getting too far into it, let’s just say that some weird things went down. First of all, people had the nerve to drink green beer and eat a whole lot of corned beef on a day when they were supposed to be celebrating the 13th anniversary of the release of Van Halen III, which was born into the world on March 17, 1998.

Now, I suppose the above items would be perfectly acceptable items of hospitality (keep the goddamn green beer coming!) at a celebratory event, but the problem is that I kept hearing people making reference to some St. Patrick’s Day holiday something or other. Holiday? I don’t know about you, but I was at work.

Oh, you weren’t at work? Then what the hell happened to me?

Taking it upon myself, I decided to phone up Gary Cherone and congratulate him personally on the anniversary of Van Halen III.

“Hi, this is Gary ‘The Man’ Cherone. I can’t make it to the phone right now because I’m out touring the planet with my new project called Hurtsmile. Check out our music on YouTube — where all the kids go these days — and oh yeah, leave me a message!”

Wow, that was an odd voicemail message. But then I started talking. “Gary, you don’t know me, really, but there I was in the audience at the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on the night when you stone-cold rocked my world with Van mothertruckin’ Halen! You were the man up there! While it wasn’t quite as awesome as that time I saw you dressed head to toe in black at the Odeon Concert Club, climbing all over the speaker columns, it was still awesome, because my man, Gary Cherone, had grown up and he got himself a job fronting one of the most awesome rock bands since Extreme!”

*disconnect tone*

“Hey, man, sorry — I got cut off. Where was I? Oh yeah — so I realize now, all these years later, that the whole Van Cherone– Is it cool that I call it that? Okay, cool. That Van Cherone thing didn’t go so well commercially in the eyes of the industry, and most Van Halen fans hated it, but I thought it was pretty cool. By the way, I checked out some of that Hurtsmile disc, and I have to tell you, that ‘Jesus Would You Meet Me’ tune is pretty awesome. Alright, man, hopefully I’ll see you out there somewhere. Peace.”

Life gives you weird things to think about sometimes. For instance, my friend Jim — actually, he’s my girlfriend’s friend Jim — posed the following question/realization:

“Tossed on Night Ranger’s Midnight Madness tonight and realized something — they are the original Van Hagar. Shredding guitarist(s), keyboards, harmonies galore, lovable ‘everyman’ frontman that was good-looking but not super good-looking.”

Hold up now, I said. HOLD UP. Kelly Keagy, Jack Blades, did you just hear what he said about you? I think he just insulted your mother as well (a regular practice here in the ‘Dose hallways).

But let’s hear him out …

“Kept thinking during it that this was what the Van Halen brothers had in mind when adding Sammy to the mix.”

Ponder that, folks.

And in the meantime, enjoy this mighty fine bootleg of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, recorded live in L.A. in June of ’88. As far as we know, they weren’t Van Hagar fans, but I can nearly guarantee that Sammy Hagar rocked “Nightmare on My Street” at least once.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
June 29, 1988
Greek Theatre
Los Angeles, California, USA

Line-up:
Will Smith (The Fresh Prince)
Jeffrey Townes (DJ Jazzy Jeff)
Clarence Holmes (Ready Rock C)

Get Louder (Intro)
Banter One
Ready Rock C Human Juke Box Routine
Rock the House
Banter Three
Donkey Kong Beat Box Performance
Banter Four
Nightmare on My Street
Parents Just Don’t Understand
Banter Five
Brand New Funk
Brand New Funk Continued

Matt Wardlaw
Matt Wardlaw is a music lifer with nearly 20 years of experience in the industry. Of course you all have shoes older than that, but that's okay, Matt realizes that he's still a rookie. His byline has appeared in the Riverfront Times (St. Louis), Cleveland Scene, Blogcritics, Music's Bottom Line and Ultimate Classic Rock, among others. In addition to writing for Popdose, Matt also has his own music blog called Addicted to Vinyl where he writes about a variety of subjects including but not limited to vinyl. In his spare time, Matt enjoys long walks in the park, Cherone-era Van Halen and driving long distances to Night Ranger concerts.