In 2004, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch was perusing the group’s online message board and got an idea: “Some kid had posted part of our show that he’d shot on his cell phone,” says Yauch. “There was something cool about the fact that it was really low resolution and had this slow stutter-frame effect.” So Yauch – who directs the group’s videos under the pseudonym Nathanial Hornblower – bought fifty Hi8 hand-held video cameras and on October 9th, 2004, distributed them to fans at the Beasties’ hometown blowout at New York’s Madison Square Garden. They also enlisted six of their buddies to document the gig on higher-tech digital cameras. “They were free to shoot whatever they wanted,” says Yauch. “They could walk around, zoom in, zoom out, dance or just bug the fuck out.” After a year of intense editing, Yauch has pieced together Awesome: I Fuckin’ Shot That, which will be distributed by Think Film (the company responsible for Murderball and The Aristocrats) and will hit movie theaters in spring 2006. A DVD release will follow next summer. “It was a lot of work – there were so many possibilities of how to attack it,” says Yauch. “But I’m really happy with the way it came together.”
During the Garden performance, the Beasties – Yauch, a.k.a. M.C.A., Adrock and Mike D – bust through cuts like “Sabrosa,” “Ricky’s Theme,” “Brass Monkey,” “Sure Shot,” “Hello Brooklyn” and “Sabotage.” Doug E. Fresh joins them on “Time to Get Ill”; there was also a hilarious skit starring Will Ferrell as President Bush that was broadcast during the show.
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Toward the end of the gig, the Beasties hiked up to the nosebleed section for a rendition of “Intergalactic.” After the show, the fifty fans turned in their footage. Says Yauch, “Then we returned all the cameras to the stores where we bought ’em.”
This story is from the December 1st, 2005 issue of Rolling Stone.