The Roots promise a few magic tricks at July 4 concert

The Roots have their own mural at the World Communications Charter School in Philly.  Credit: Chris Jordan
The Roots have their own mural at the World Communications Charter School in Philly.
Credit: Chris Jordan

The 4th of July is a magical time in Philadelphia.

Just ask Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of the Roots, which will once again be the house band for the annual Wawa Welcome America! main concert July 4 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

“It’s not a Roots event until we sneak a few rabbits out of the hat that Philly doesn’t know about,” Questlove says. “No one knew about Lauryn Hill last year or about Boyz II Men the year before. I kind of like that surprise element so we have a lot of surprises and a lot of walk ons that we haven’t announced. We’re trying to put on the world’s greatest variety show and hopefully make it a tradition.”

The announced guests are pretty impressive, too, with Ne-Yo, Jill Scott, John Mayer, Demi Lovato, Ben Taylor, J. Cole and Grace Potter on board this year. North Philly funnyman Kevin Hart is the host.

“There’s going to be a lot of work involved from our end but when you love your work and love what you do, it’s a lot of fun,” says Roots keyboardist James Poyser.

More than 1 million are expected at the free concert. It’s the midpoint of a very big year for the Roots, which saw them named as the house band for the upcoming “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” starting in February next year. Locally, the guys also had their own mural unveiled at the World Communications Charter School at Broad and South streets in the spring and they just announced an album collaboration with Elvis Costello, due out in the fall.

“One day when he was a guest on the Fallon show and it was the third successful collaboration between the Roots and Elvis, I said, ‘OK, let’s make this official, let’s get married,’” Questlove says. “The album is called ‘Wise Up Ghost.’”

Drumming is not Questlove’s only skill. He’s just released a memoir, “Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove,” and is writing the text for a coffee table book on “Soul Train,” he says.

As for the July 4th show, it culminates with a fireworks display over the art museum.

“They’re not only Philadelphia’s house band, the Roots is the world’s house band,” says Mayor Michael Nutter.


If you go

Wawa Welcome America! concert feat. the Roots, Ne-Yo, Jill Scott, John Mayer, Demi Lovato, Ben Taylor, J. Cole and Grace Potter
Hosted by Kevin Hart
Thursday, July 4, 7-11 p.m.
Ben Franklin Pkwy, 20th Street to Eakins Oval
Free
www.welcomeamerica.com

 

Other Welcome America! events include:

“Silver Linings Playbook” will be shown Monday at 9 p.m. at Rittenhouse Square and “Rocky” will be shown Tuesday at 9 p.m.

The National Constitution Center offers free admission all day Tuesday.

Wawa will distribute four tons of free hoagies at the Independence Visitor Center Lawn on Market Street between Fifth and Sixth streets from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Peter Nero and Philly Pops! perform a free concert at Independence Hall on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

The Party on the Parkway is Thursday (July 4!) from noon to 7 p.m. on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The Taste of Philly is Friday through Sunday at Penn’s Landing.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…